Flicker-track and Verge (1999 KAISER)

These two short abstract pieces were made Paul Kaiser as a change from the complexity and expense of his collaborations of the time. Though the two animations are very different from each other, they are completely computer-generated (no outside samples) and share simple properties: each is in black-and-white, and each constructed from cubes.

In Flicker-track, black and white cubes flash in alternation, with the rules to their interaction probably sensed intuitively rather than grasped analytically. The soundtrack derives from the built-in telephone tones of a simple sound editor.

Verge, which is silent, uses volumetric light to explore the idea of “blind 3D” in which black zones of the image may be read as voids or as dark solids.


Flicker-stories is a short essay describing some of the thoughts going into Flicker-track, including intentionality, epilepsy, and the tradition of experimental flicker-films.

P. Mutt Protest is the artist’s statement protesting the Whitney’s sponsorship by Phillip Morris (big tobacco).


Flicker-track was first shown in the exhibit “Searchlight: Consciousness at the Millenium” at the CCA Gallery, San Francisco, 1999.

Verge was first shown, with Flicker-track, at The Kitchen in 1999. Both works were later installed at the Whitney Museum in its “Bitstreams” exhibition of 2000. Kaiser took on the pseudonym P. Mutt to protest the Whitney show’s sponsorship by big tobacco.