There are a number of issues presented in The Life and Home of Gerbi Norberg, including native rights, eugenics, animal trafficking and the extraction of precious elements. However one aspect that is of primary metaphoric importance is a computer system, a precursor to Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI). I was a closed-caption editor at the time, which involved a lot of fast-forwarding and rewinding of the videotape, and watching the characters go back and forth, pause and start again, and got me to thinking about a system that could manipulate what was seen on the screen.
I’ll never understand why people believe what they see on television, in films. The camera is a mechanism, a process that manipulates. I remember watching The Ten Commandments when I was a kid. That’s when I realized that movies were all lies. I mean, the movie spanned the entire life of Moses, from a baby to an old man. And when you do that, compress and expand time and space, that simple idea, it’s a lie. Montage. It’s a lie. Anyway, that was the starting point for my software for AVIM, or Audio-Visual Image Manipulation. It was a simple process. I only had to divide the screen into a grid with small enough coordinates that the manipulation was undetectable, and second, establish a language for the process. It wasn’t just a matter of typing in ‘Give the duck more feathers.’ I had to establish the coordinates for the duck in each frame and then create the code, instructing the system to match the form, shading and color of the duck’s feathers, make allowances, how the feathers might stick out and curl, and plot the trajectory from beginning to end. It just took time.