The Phase Shift and Interference Video Series

One Again

The Phase Shift Videos

The videos in this series were inspired by the early phase shift music of Steve Reich. The first one that was created (One Again) analogously sets 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 will seamlessly loop. Although in other pieces 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 the colors is ever altered. 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.

They have played at a variety of venues throughout the world. In addition to the usual 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; the see what it means to see and remember color."

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. Below you can see two still frames from each video which may give you the smallest hint of what the pieces look like. The short installation video under the Center Galleries link should make clear why there are only still images on this page. 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. However, DVD's including several of these pieces are available to appropriate 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 similarly to the Phase Shift Videos have been inspired by the sound composer Alvin Lucier. Thus far six videos have been completed, and stills can be viewed at the bottom of this page. Although they have something 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.

Check out the show at Center Galleries, Detroit, 2007

Someone's photos of Phase Shift: Pendant in ALBIAC

Review in the Flint Journal

Interview in VideoFocus, December 2014

--Please click on any image in order to see it fullsize--

The Phase Shift Videos

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Corona Two

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Purchase prize winner at the
Bienal Internacional de
Arte Contemporáneo,
in Spain



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The Interference Videos