Dennis Summers

Dennis Summers :: The Interference Videos

About the Project ::

The Interference Video Series is a new series of high definition videos that have been inspired by the sound composer Alvin Lucier. Analogously to the soundscapes of Lucier, the line patterns in these videos create interesting interference patterns as they move through the image. A simple pattern is generated and then developed over time. As the elements of this pattern interact with one another, compelling and unexpected visual effects occur. Like many time based experiences each one of these pieces tells a different “story.” Thus far eight videos have been completed. Although they have something in common with a prior series called 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 geometric and hard-edged compared to the often soft edged, organic patterns seen in the Phase Shift Videos.

The pieces of both series can be experienced on different levels. They are visually quite beautiful, and set up an ever changing pattern of interesting color relationships. 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. Because they are always projected larger than human scale, the experience becomes physiological and interactive. Some viewers will use their cast shadow to “play” with the videos; others sit quietly, their breathing coming into sync with the visual oscillations.

About the Artist ::

Dennis Summers has exhibited artwork internationally since 1984. He has worked in a wide range of genres and media. During most of this period he created large-scale mixed and multi-media installations. He also created artist’s books and digital animations which are included in the collections of several major museums. In the past his artwork was inspired by science and anthropology. In the late ‘90s new interests included environmental issues, mapping, and language extinction. This lead to the on- going global memorial artwork called The Crying Post Project, begun in 2001 ( This project involves placing wooden posts with computer chip controlled “cry generators” at locations of environmental disasters. Such sites include Bhopal, India, an island near the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, and several more.

With his background in both “analog” and digital 3D, in the mid-90’s Summers found himself at the confluence of these fields, which was wide open for new aesthetic exploration. In 1996 he received a State Arts Grant to create 3 interactive programs for an enhanced CD (which was included in an early digital art traveling exhibit called Contact Zones). One component of The Crying Post Project is an interactive 3D website. Summers has created 3 short “art” digital animations that have played and won awards in film festivals worldwide.

This digital artwork has come to its full fruition, in a series of digitally created abstract “color field” videos called The Phase Shift Videos begun in 2005 (www.phase- One of these was a purchase prize winner in the Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, in Almeria, Spain, 2006. Others have been exhibited in the Toluca Museum of Modern Art in Mexico, an airport in Russia, a new media festival in Brazil, and numerous other galleries and museums world-wide. In contrast to The Crying Post Project these videos have been described as mesmerizing, beautiful and complex. Most recently he has begun a new series of color videos called The Interference Videos that are quite different in concept and formal structure.

He is also at work on a series of short, dense, digitally created collaged videos inspired by artists and scientists called Slow Light Shadow Matter. His artists books, videos and interactive digital projects are in the collections of several major museums including the MOMA, the Pompidou Center, and the International Dada Archive.