Monday, 12 October 2015

Wire Reflex - some video ideas based on geometry and time

This is an  extract from my video Wire Reflex. You can see the full loop on Vimeo at

I'll explain here how it was constructed and how some related videos have been made.

But first let me explain why I made this (and the other videos excerpted here). I am exploring the application of geometry to the systematic creation of symmetry. Symmetry can occur in both space and time.  The interaction of symmetries in space with those in time is particularly fascinating, as I hope to show with these extracts.

We think of geometry as applying primarily to space (or form in space). So when someone say "geometric" we think of squares and circles, triangles and lines. But geometry also concerns movement. Translations, rotations and dilations are the primary movements (in 2D). Symmetry and congruence are defined in terms of movement. Symmetry is what attracts an artist, so movement is an essential concern for artists.

Symmetry in space can be as simple as a mirror image. That is the space symmetry involved in Wire Reflex.

Wire Reflex is just four copies of the same video of a piece of wire rotating on a thread. These four copies have been flipped into four orientations and then overlaid (using video filters). The symmetry is achieved simply by ensuring that the four copies are synchronised.

So the time symmetry in this extract is synchronism.

Not so in the following extract

Here, just two copies of the video are used, one copy having been delayed by one second. [This is quite interesting to see live, where the camera is pointing at the hanging object which you can see is alone, yet on the screen there are two copies]. The time symmetry involved here is constant delay.

Perhaps even more interesting, especially as a live performance is the following.

Here, although the second copy of the live feed has been delayed, it periodically catches up and then falls behind again. Live, this looks very mysterious. The time symmetry is variable (but symmetric) delay.

Combining these ideas, we can create complex arrangements of patterens that appear and disappear using many overlays and carefully choreographed delays.

As a taster for the kind of composition that we can make when we mix space symmetry and time symmetry, take a look at the following. This is a transformation of the Wire Reflex loop in which time has been mutated by shuffling the dimensions.

To be continued ... [continues here]