Tracer was my last officially scheduled interview for this documentary (but not
the last one in actuality, since a few more cropped up afterwards). He was a
member of the art group ACiD and came with RaD Man's prompting. While a member
of the group, he was a part of the inner circle of ACiD during the early years,
doing mostly ANSImations until finally retiring from the group in the mid 1990s.
ANSImations are basically ANSI code-based artwork where cursor control is
included, and across the slow speed of a modem, rudimentary animation comes to
light, with wipes, movement, and other dramatic effects. As almost nobody
communicates across modems at 2400 or 9600 baud anymore, these artworks are
in danger of being lost, which makes their story that much more interesting;
their time to live is less than a few years before the sands start overtaking
them. Luckily, a program called ACiDView will take ANSImations and render them
out to a form that I can put into the documentary.
Tracer's office was located in New York City; I made this a dual trip of seeing my
parents and doing this interview, and the parking garage I stayed at for 3
hours was so professional and clean that I didn't even let it bother me that
those 3 hours cost me about $25. New York, New York, it's a hell of a town.
We talked in Tracer's office, where he has continued in the
computer field as consultant and management, getting involved in a lot of
Internet-related work. Our interview reminded me about how far I'd come in
learning this skill of making a film; the process of scoping an angle, setting
up the sound and lights, taking readings and preparing Tracer for an interview
were almost seamlessly wound into a conversation we had. The break-down was
Understandably, a lot of the real intense details of his time with ACiD have
gone the way of most childhood memories, but Tracer was about to remember a
number of really funny anecdotes and talk about the art skills he picked up
while member. He also gave huge compliments to JED of ACiD and others who he
admired. The interview was about an hour's worth, and by the end we'd covered
quite a great deal with little downtime or pauses. Like I said, by this point
it was second nature to me, which removed basically all the stress. (Well, that
and the fact that I had almost 250 hours of footage already recorded).
One last neat thing; if you look at the last photo, you can see Tracer's
computer is missing its cover and is attached to a brick wall; an artistic
statement reminiscent of his earlier years; a nice echo of childhood.