phog masheeen

phog masheeen

Phog masheeen is a video, sound art collective based in Costa Mesa and Long Beach California. The focus is on audio with video accompaniment. Appropriated objects, Re-pouroused instruments and a focus on improvised performance are key elements of phog masheeen presentations.

Artist Location: Costa Mesa, CA

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ACE [Artist Curated Events]

Video presentation Online October 28, 2023:
At The Bottom
“At The Bottom” features contributions by Wikigong, Skunk Puppet, Kurt Comstock, Janet Housden, Heather Williamson and phog masheeen.
The theme for At The Bottom was an intentional nautical reference. Chosen because of Soundpedro’s location of the physical event at Angeles Gate Cultural Center and because the city of San Pedro is a center of all things nautical. Although the prompt is “At the bottom.” The videos produced by the various artists take the prompt in directions of their own choosing.

Premiered on YouTube on October 28th 2023, at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (

“So far this year, I’ve completed 3 new 16mm films. I’m considering my two part “at the bottom” film – FROM THE DEPTHS FATHOM ONE, FATHER OF LIES, and FATHOM TWO, MOTHER (noise by Janet Housden) as two. Fathom One was processed in cannabis developer. Fathom Two moon sequence processed in night blooming jasmine, tidal scenes in wild licorice from the hills above Malibu. The other was DON’T EAT THE BABY, (noise by FNORD! Janet Housden, Mark Hoeschler & Kurt Comstock) that you also initiated. After my failed deadly nightshade experiments, I used my go-to rosemary formula. All three films are the direct result of your prompting, interest, and energetic promotion within the noise community. Please accept my profound appreciation for your assistance in prodding me to continue producing my unique Art. The Muse would have never visited my household this year without your efforts. 

History of my art: Around 2012 I met German filmmaker Dagie Brundert at Echo Park Film Center. She was showing a series of super-8 films developed in “caffenol”, a mixture of instant coffee, washing soda, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). There’s a small group of international photographers developing mostly still film in Caffenol. Except for Brundert, their almost universal goal is to produce images indistinguishable from commercial chemical developers. Brundert also did some experimentation using fresh rosemary, and garden flowers instead of coffee, with considerable success. She foolishly shared her recipe to Dickie at EPFC, who later taught a class on the subject which I attended. I promptly lost the notes, and spent the next 6 months in experimentation with caffenol on 16mm film. For weeks I’d only get an occasional ghost coming out of the mist. As months progressed, my experimentation yielded better and better images. I loved (and still do) the unpredictable and undeniably organic images that result in the process. With caffenol under my belt, I became obsessed with Brundert’s garden flower work, and began experimentation with multitudes of botanical “soups”. I also followed Brundert’s lead in using peroxide and lemons as a substitute for chemical bleaches. I named it “Lemoxide Bleach”, which Brundert approved.

A 2013 association with Dutch-Australian filmmaker Karel Doing introduced me to the world of Absurd Film, which I heartily embraced. At the same time, as an EPFC artist in residence, Doing exhibited his new silent super-8 film “LA A-Z”. He sheepishly said that due to the exhausted EPFC bleach, loaded with dissolved silver particles, the film showed numerous marks, dots, and eerie patterns in the emulsion. I LOVED the results. Afterwards, I offered to record a soundtrack for the film, which he accepted. To this day he regularly shows “our” film in numerous European venues. At that time I began to actually call myself a Filmmaker, rather than, “yeah, I try to make films”.

Besides coffee, the international caffenol community have reported success with red wine (winenol), beer (beerenol), and a few other “enols”. Again, their main goal is imagery matching chemical developers. The brainiac chemist/leaders of the clique, in their dogmatical proclamations, declare the active ingredient in coffee is “phenols”. Online research told me phenols are a substance found in most plant-life, as a defense against insect infestation. I found a vintage scholarly work on the subject that listed phenol levels in many common plants. I was intrigued that “hemp” was rated among those with the highest concentrations of phenols. That got me to thinking…

In my experiments with different botanicals, I’ve had some failures. Oak tree and deadly nightshade produce almost no result. However, I’ve had great success with many other botanicals, a few being rosemary, wild anise (licorice), white sage, rose petals, stinking tar-weed, brown kelp (seaweed), wild elderberry, grass clippings, mulberry leaves, tobacco, flowers from dead babies’ graves, and fresh horse manure. As a consequence, I try to use botanical developers that have some connection to the subject matter. Rather than name each formula with the base tea + “enol”, after the fantastically successful and odorous results of fresh horse manure, I call all of my botanical formulas “CRAPPENOL”.

About FATHER OF LIES (developed in cannabis). When you interviewed me last year (two years?), I said I’d developed a film in cannabis, although I’ve never ran it through a projector. I examined it with a loupe, and knew I’d captured intriguing images, but never had the nerve to view it. Last month in preparation for AT THE BOTTOM, for the first time I viewed and telecined (digitized) it. The result is FROM THE DEPTHS, FATHOM ONE: FATHER OF LIES.

In my online searches, there is a single 2020 caffenol discussion (Q: do you think you could develop in cannabis? A: Try it and find out. If it doesn’t work, glug glug glug!). Other than that, I see no attempt ever made with still or movie film to process film in cannabis.
• 2014 – I see “hemp” rated high in plant phenols.
• 2018 – I grew a cannabis plant from seed, and filmed it with a Bolex Rex-5 16mm camera on expired Kodak Tri-X film date-coded 1987. I used other cameras after that, and left the cannabis film inside the camera. I placed aside the camera for 2 1/2 years, always planning to process in cannabis developer. Stored in a plastic bag, the cannabis grew moldy and turned black. In FATHER OF LIES, you can see me clean cut and harvesting the plant.
• 2020 – My son Sam films me as “Morton Whitehead at Camarillo State Mental hospital” with the cannabis camera. Using the now mouldering cannabis I concoct a crappenol formula and develop the film. I view the successful images with a loupe and store away, without projecting it. Never cutting my hair or shaving since the initial filming, in FATHER OF LIES “Morton Whitehead” is considerably changed in appearance.
• 2023 I develop and telecine the film. 28 October 2023, the film is due to PREMIERE on Mark Soden’s soundpedro AT THE BOTTOM noise exhibition.”
– Kurt Comstock


Performance October 29, 2023
at Torrance Art Museum’s Nomad II

VBODOBV [sounding videos]

Collaboration: Phog Masheeen, Almas Art Video

Interspecies Communication ’65
Inspired by a NASA funded study into interspecies communication between humans and dolphins. The study started in 1958 but in the mid-sixties it took some wild turns when LSD was applied to speed up the process. This is our tribute to those fearless explorers of the inner realm. Particularly, Peter, the dolphin. Who received most, if not all, the LSD.

ACE [Artist Curated Events]

Military Sealife
Phog masheeen will curate a one hour video presentation for YouTube distribution. This video will offer three participants in past soundpedro events an opportunity to contribute videos on the topic of “Military Sealife, The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP)”

The video will be released on October 29th, 2022 as a timely addition to Halloween. Sonically, the presentation may include narrative, electronic and acoustic sounds, field recordings, underwater field recordings and foley sounds as needed to further the presentation.

ACE [Artist Curated Events]

Dark Waters is a study of nautical superstition, presented as a series of videos of varying lengths.
Why Nautical Superstition, you may ask.
For the past soundpedro events, phog masheeen has picked performance themes that suited the physical location of the event, in a re-purposed fort built during World War Two to protect the harbor. Although there will be no physical performances this year. We chose to continue with a theme that references the sea and is perfect for the week before Halloween.

Audio portions are accompanied by live mixed video.

Inter-tidal Zone is a piece in two movements, Low tide and High tide. It uses programmatic material in the form of field recordings to represent the binary qualities of inter-tidal life. Low tide focuses on the society of tide pools and High tide focuses on a feeding frenzy. Found objects, samples and musical instruments will be used to produce the sounds. It has been performed on internet radio.

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