Six in a Row

6 in a row is part of the exhibition Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960's which was first shown at the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas, from March 13 through August 1, 2010. The exhibition is curated by David S. Rubin. It is currently being exhibited at the Jepson Center, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA from March 4, 2011 - May 29, 2011. The exhbition includes Albert Alvarez, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Jeremy Blake, Richie Budd, George Cisneros, James Cobb, Jack Goldstein, Alex Grey, Al Held, Mark Hogensen, Constance Lowe, Erik Parker, Lari Pittman, Ray Rapp, Deborah Remington, Susie Rosmarin, Alex Rubio, Sterling Ruby, Frank Stella, Philip Taaffe, Fred Tomaselli, Victor Vasarely, Michael Velliquette and Robert Williams.

6 in a Row (video excerpt)
6 in a Row is a digital video wall drawing consisting of electrical outlets, electrical boxes, yellow extension cord, dvd players, power transformers, lcd monitors and rca cables. Each of the dvd players is playing one of the same six digital animations of a single figure doing a repetitive motion, however the order of play has been changed for each. If one waited long enough it is theoretically possible to see the same character on all six monitors at one time. This would be, in effect, 'winning the game'. The individual strobing figures:
  1. man jumping backwards animation created from the Muybridge photograph "Man Standing and Jumping Backwards"
  2. young girl as power ranger created from an original video of a young girl dressed for Halloween practicing karate moves, Brooklyn, NY
  3. contemporary woman climbing ladder created from an original video of a woman climbing a ladder (after Muybridge photo), Brooklyn, NY
  4. man rollerblading created from original video of a man rollerblading in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
  5. man swinging golf club created from sampled dvd movie "Falling Down"
  6. woman swinging baseball bat created from an original video of a woman swinging a baseball bat in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
A Brief History

My first computer was an Amiga with a video effects program. One day while clicking various video input buttons on the screen interface, I discovered a strobing, flashing abstract video clip caught in the what is called a 'frame buffer'. I captured the fleeting images and put the sequence in a video editing program which displayed a series of alternating black on white and white on black patterns on sequential frames. These alternating solid color patterns created the strobing effect. This effect could be altered by varying the number of frames for each version of the image. By manipulating the temporal sequencing I could create a variety of strobing effects including a radiating glowing effect.

feedback video (2001)

In 2001, I was making a series of video animations for an exhibition on horses. I decided to apply my newly discovered information to Muybridge's famous photograph The Galloping Horse. I took the individual frames from the horse sequence and created white on black and black on white versions of each frame. When I played back the sequence using the correct number of frames per image, I created the desired glowing, strobe effect. The retro nature of applying strobing techniques to a straightforward video amused me. I found the video visually enticing as well as conceptually updating Muybridge's ground breaking work. Subsequent installations in 2002 - 03 featured animations sampling other Muybridge works. These works varied frame rate and frame order while utilizing rotoscoping and color keying to turn Muybridge's traditional motion studies into herky-jerky, spasmodic sequences.

The bold color combinations were ideally suited to the lcd monitors I began using. The strobing colors created additional color combinations as a result of the re-animating process. I then decided to create my own contemporary motion studies from video selections I had recorded of people I knew performing staged events as well as strangers doing their normal, daily activities. I also sampled selections from movies and downloaded vignettes from the internet depending on the requirements of a given work. 6 in a Row is part of the series of digital animations and installations which began with strobingMuybridge. 6 in a Row is an 'art' game featuring the six characters played back on 6 dvds on six 4" lcd monitors.

The human eye retains an image for a fraction of a second after it views the image. This property (called persistence of vision) is essential to all visual display technologies. Video is comprised of a sequence of images. Single still frames are presented at a rate high enough so that persistence of vision integrates these still frames into motion. Motion pictures set the frame rate at 24 frames per second. When NTSC television standards were introduced, the frame rate was moved to 29.97 frames per second. For some reason, the brighter the still image, the shorter the persistence of vision. So, bright pictures require more frequent repetition. If the space between pictures is too long, then the image flickers. Large bright theater projectors avoid this problem by placing rotating shutters in front of the image in order to increase the repetition changing the actual images. Since there is no easy way to "put a shutter" in front of a television broadcast, a single frame is scanned twice. This 'interlacing' creates two "flashes" per frame. Aberrations, however, do occur. Glitches. These include misalignment (the horizontal edges of one scan do not match with the next), and interline flicker (slight mismatches between subsequent lines cause a shimmering effect). Another potential problem is rapid motion. If the still frame images are presented at too low a rate, rapid motion becomes jerky and odd looking.

I have attempted to utilize these aberrations by altering the frame rate of the video or by changing the number and sequence of still images presented in any given animation. The misalignment of sequential frames creates overlapping color arrangements. Alternating positive and negative images creates a pronounced flicker, sometimes called 'strobing'. With careful persistence of vision one may detect the anomalies between the alternating positive and negative images.