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Cycles 1 (aka Dot Cycle)

Guy Sherwin
1972/77
5mins B/W Sound 16mm
see also Cycles #3 (2003) version for 2 projectors

Cycles 1 (aka Dot Cycle)

A hand-made film of a circular form that fluctuates in rhythms of light and sound.

Cycles 1 is made by sticking paper dots onto the surface of the film and to its (optical) sound track. On projection these separate instants are converted simultaneously into picture and sound.
The gaps between the dots gradually decrease until a fusion of the material occurs; the separate image-moments coalesce into a pulsating ball of light; simultaneously we hear rhythmic sounds fusing into a continuous rising drone.

These transformations are taking place in our perceptual systems, for if we examine the physical strip of film, no such change is seen. Apparently we register time through our optical and our aural senses in very different ways, one chemical, the other mechanical. Visual information can only be 'processed' at a maximum of 12 separate samples (frames) per second, whereas with sound our sensitivity is greater, up to 30 per second. Below these frequencies we can distinguish separate moments in time, above them we can't.

CYCLES 3 1972/2003 8 mins, b/w and colour.
This is a live projection event for two 16mm projectors and two loudspeakers. The material used in Cycles 1 is re-cycled for two screens and two soundtracks, with one tinted screen set inside a second b/w screen. This combination gives rise to a surprising range of induced colours and after-images, as well as complex cross-rhythms in the soundtrack.

There is also a single-screen version of Cycles 1 in which the projected light is bounced off a mirror attached to a loudspeaker, the vibrations of which make the entire image pulsate.

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