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The Phase Shift and Interference Videos
The Phase Shift Videos
The videos in this series were inspired by the early phase shift music of Steve Reich. The first one created (One Again) analogously set two colors (a fuzzy disk on a square background) - each of which is cycling through all the colors in the spectrum - against each other as they slowly go out of phase. They come back into phase after roughly 15 minutes at which point the piece seamlessly loops. Although in other videos from this series, the shapes, arrangements of shapes, and color patterns become more complex - the generative system remains the same. 
 
These pieces can be experienced on different levels. They are visually quite beautiful, and set up an ever changing pattern of interesting color relationships. They create unusual optical effects - for example, the shapes sometimes appear to change size, or even move, when in reality nothing except color ever changes. Additionally, like abstract art in general their interpretation is open to the viewer's discretion. And finally, for many they create an absorbing meditative experience. One critic has written of the work’s “technological virtuosity,” describing them as “simple and complex, multiply layered and subtly detailed, yet so invisibly sophisticated that they take on a moving life of their own.” 
 
They have played at a variety of venues throughout the world. In addition to traditional art galleries and museums they have been included in the art and technology festival called FILE RIO 2009 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and played in the Koltsovo Airport in Yekaterinburg, Russia. One of them, Pendant, was a purchase prize winner at the Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, in Spain. In 2012 two of these videos were included in an exhibit devoted to color called ColorMAD at Western Washington University. Quoting from the catalog: "[T]he work featured in ColorMAD by Dennis Summers does this: it enacts the perceiving of perception itself. The slowly shifting and mutating video work of Summers is immersive and transformative. The viewer does not see only the work; they see what it means to see and remember color." In 2014, Sash was projected on the outside north wall of the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the International Dlectricity festival. Also in 2014 I was interviewed by the VideoFocus internet magazine.
 
These videos are publicly viewed in a "black box": a dark room where all that can be seen is the projection at no smaller than 8' x 8'. They have also been projected at night at much larger sizes on the sides of architectural structures. 
 
At this point about 30 different pieces in this series have been created. Here you can see two still frames from each video which may give you an indication of how they transform over time. Unfortunately given both technology constraints and the importance of scale to the work, playing any of these videos on a computer screen over the internet would be counter-productive. To understand why, you can view a gallery installation video here. However, DVD's including several of these pieces are available to interested organizations for review purposes only. Please contact Strategic Technologies for Art, Globe and Environment for more information on purchasing or exhibiting any of these videos.
The Interference Videos
Recently a new series has been developed. This series is called The Interference Videos, and they have been inspired in this case by the sound composer Alvin Lucier. Thus far ten videos have been completed, and stills can be viewed here. Although they have aspects in common with the Phase Shift Videos, these do not loop; they are somewhat longer (20 minutes); colors change differently; elements are more geometric; and they actually do move. The visual elements are more "severe" than the variety of shapes seen in the Phase Shift Videos. Nonetheless, they too create an absorbing meditative experience. Analogously to the soundscapes of Lucier, the line patterns in these videos create interesting interference patterns as they move through the image. Of course, these videos are even harder to imagine from still images, and also need to be seen at large scales. As above, if you are interested in previewing any of them, please contact Strategic Technologies for Art, Globe and Environment. They are high definition videos and only playable as bluray discs. 
 
In 2017 Cross-Frequency Coupling was commissioned for "The Big Screen: Cobo Center Marquee Series" in downtown Detroit. The video requirements were unusual in that the duration could not exceed 90 seconds, and the size was very wide - 160 feet long by 30 feet tall.

For more information about the artist, Dennis Summers, click here.
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