Reductive Video Project Statement & Overview

Experiments in Reductive Video

As television broadcast has moved to digital, we have seen the increased presence of glitches in our programming. Videos freeze and as the programming resumes, we become privy to the inner workings of the process of how the image is stored and transmitted. Movement and color shift are rendered as changes rather than wholly new images.

As we begin to store and record information, we have always chosen to fracture it. As one looks to the locomotion studies of Muybridge, we see a fracturing of movement into individual frames, revealing the elements of movement. But movement has form when we move beyond individual images. The glitches that we see as digital video recovers from a paused broadcast reveal the form of what is to come. The history of long exposure photography shows that motion can become shape – whether through the techniques of painting with light, as one sees with the Picasso images of Life magazine or in Nancy Breslin’s pinhole “Square Meals.” Marey similarly chose to show the form of movement over time in a single still image.

This body of work entitled “Reductive Video” borrows the choice to depict changes in movement (either as individual frames or wholly contained in a single image) and applies it to the technical rendering of images. Using custom software written in Max/MSP/Jitter, video is broken down to reveal only the pixels that change from frame to frame, no longer implying form, but instead the shape of what has changed from the previous frame. Resequenced as video, the individual frames become reminiscent of Muybridge’s silhouetted running horse. These individual frames are also layered to become a single image, showing changes in shape, reminiscent of Marey’s use of while lines on soldier’s uniforms – depicting a “wire frame” of physical movement.

Reductive Video (project overview) via Vimeo.