In 1974 the Vasulkas acquired a Rutt/Etra Scan Processor, a device which allows the video raster - as well as the images displayed on it - to be reshaped through magnetic deflection.  To Woody the appeal of the Rutt/Etra was its capacity to visually display in a precise manner the most basic elements of the video signal - electronic waveforms.  It was this device that catalyzed his preoccupation with an aesthetic that was fundamentally didactic.  For the next few years, the Vasulkas collaborated less.  Woody described how the scan processor influenced his work:

Compared to my previous work on videotape, the work with the scan processor indicates a whole different trend in my understanding of the electronic image.  The rigidity and total confinement of time sequences have imprinted a didactic style on the product.  Improvisational modes become less important than an exact mental script and a strong notion of the frame structure of the electronic image.  Emphasis has shifted towards a recognition of a time/energy object and its programmable building block - the waveform. 30

The idea that video images were nothing more than electromagnetic energy constructed in time was central for Woody, and he made numerous tapes and films from 1974 to 1977 depicting the process.  Many of these used audio and video noise as the image source.  One of the clearest illustrations of what he called 'time/energy objects" is found in The Matter (1974).  In it a generated dot pattern is displayed on the raster.  The three primary waveforms - sine, square, and triangle - are fed into the Rutt/Etra and used to shape the raster display so that the dot pattern assumes the shape of each waveform.  Woody illustrated these kinds of changes more systematically in a set of grid-like displays consisting of still photographs that depict the various states of the raster when controlled by the primary waveforms in conjunction with alterations of the scanning process.  While these pieces were designed as reductive exercises, other tapes and films apply some of these principles to camera-generated images.  Because the Rutt/Etra processes the signal in such a way that light energy - or brightness - can be converted to magnetic energy, theillusion of three-dimensionality is created.  This is accomplished by connecting the incoming video signal to the vertical deflection system - or the magnetic force that "pulls" the image vertically - so that the brightest portions of an image stand out.  As Johanna Gill described the effect, "what one is seeing is a topographical map of the brightness of an image; where the image is bright, it lifts the lines [of the raster]; where it is black, they fall. 31

Woody's tapes Reminiscence (1974) and C-Trend (1974), the film Grazing (1975), and the tape Telc (1974) by Woody and Steina, all transform camera images - landscapes, street scenes, sheep grazing - into topographic renderings.  These tapes and films all start with a referent that is "real," so that one can more easily see the process of magnetic deflection than with less specific imagery.  These tapes possess eerie, web-like qualities.  However, neither those qualities in themselves nor what they might symbolize interested

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