Film: Andy Warhol Triphase

by Beauchamp Art

RGB Triphase [Post-Warhol] from Beauchamp Art on Vimeo.

RGB Triphase (2016) Benjamin S. Beauchamp

Warhol removed from the RGB Warhol video, leaving only the flashing phases of colour.
A Structuralist study for the Digital Residency at the Firstsite Gallery in Colchester.

Andy Warhol RGB Triphase [AV]

Warhol flashing in phases of red, green, and blue

Andy Warhol RGB Triphase [Still] - 02

Andy Warhol RGB Triphase [Still]


RGB Triphase [Post Warhol]

Warhol removed from the RGB Warhol video, leaving only the flashing phases of colour.

The W(hol)e in Warhol … Removing the Warhol sculpture as a visual element … Just having an extended flashing Red, Green, Blue and Black sequence. … Altering the sound so as just to feature the melody played through a sawtooth synthesiser over 3 octaves, highlighting the rapidity of the imagery and sound, producing an violently alternating sequence that produces a peculiar effect on the eyes (and making reference to Paul Sharits’ N:O:T:H:I:N:G, alongside his T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G. and Epileptic Seizure Comparison films, reinventing the process for a digital format).

RGB Tri 4-3 [Stills] - 01

RGB Tri 4:3 [Stills]

As the retina adjusts to one colour, the cones at the back of the eye reduce their sensitivity to that frequency of light, when the eye is given such a rapid series of colours to process, it struggles to do so in a constructive manner, resulting in a secondary pulsing effect in the visual field in conjunction with the oscillating colour of the frames, where the solid colour panel begins to loose its solidity, and becomes a vibrant miasma of tone, and should the viewer allow the video to fill their visual field (on a computer or television screen at close proximity; using a projector may be problematic due to the low refresh rate, and the video require the full 30 frames per second to be visible and displayed in the exact sequences in which they have been composed) they may be able to see the contents of their eye more vividly, with the impression of the blood vessels on the surface of the eyeball becoming especially evident. It also means that when the sequence shifts from the 4 possible frames in various orders to the sections in which the phase has shifted to the point at which only one section of colour is visible at one time, resulting in 6 seconds of a fixed colour.

This may produce a sense of relief in the perception of the viewer, having gone from the individual second being sliced into 30ths of red, green, blue and black; to a comparative moment of calm, with a single bright colour filling the visual field for a short period, before returning to the chaos. The sound structure reflects this, with single notes of the descending A minor arpeggio in a staggered flux, suddenly cutting to a constant sustained sound; as if upon a tempest, being raised higher above the horizon by the swelling tide, for the wave to fall away beneath creating a momentary sense of weightlessness, but the impending tinnitus ring of the sawtooth waveform foreshadowing the inevitable decent back into the maelstrom. Given this structure, the sequence may loop indefinitely, playing through the RGB phases endlessly.


Andy Warhol RGB Triphase Split

The Warhol RGB triple phase juxtaposed to the solid RGB phase.

Andy Warhol RGB Triphase Split [Stills] - 07

Andy Warhol RGB Triphase Split [Stills]

The basic rotational sequence is actually 180 frames once loaded into Final Cut at 30fps … This meant that each variation of the frame sequence would loop fully, without having the need for an imperfect loop (whether alternating from red to the original, or the more complex parts of between 1 and 4 alternating frames) … which meant making sounds synchronise all the easier, as did moving from 277 to 275 bpm … Looping sound/music


Andy Warhol Bioluminescent Triphase

The RGB Warhol slowed down by 50%, layered with itself with difference opacity.


Audio: AW Triphase & Shepard Tone

Warhol rgb triphase project

Despite the structure of the frame sequence being technically minimal, its execution is nevertheless a reasonably complex operation, and the resulting visual pattern is evident in the phases of the visible/hidden frames shown in this image documenting one section of the editing process of the RGB overlay.