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Paul Sharits (1943-1993), I Specci (The Mirrors), 1979-80; projected 35mm slides; Courtesy of Christopher and Shari Sharits

In 1979-80 I lived in a lovely town, Positano, Italy on the Amalfi Coast, south of Napoli, during a sabbatical.

During the winter months, I noticed incredible light streaks across the sea (from my vantage, I could see Capri) and the wonderful cloud structures above.  I started taking slides, from different vantage points in my nearly vertical village, always keeping the horizon line exactly in the middle of the frame.  In quick succession, these random patterns appear to have a sequential order (that is, “movements” seem to occur – this is our brain, putting together data in logical patterns.)  The piece flips flops clouds and sea patterns, to further stretch one’s brain’s capacity for order-seeking.  Strange patterns over-lapped, appeared to create patterns.  To emphasize the regularity of the three lapped, appeared to create patterns.  To emphasize the regularity of the three projectors, each changing at one each per second, all superposed together on one screen, contact  mikes are placed on each projector so the changes of the slides are amplified.  These speakers are to be radically separated, emphasizing their (slightly out of sync) rhythm, but also stressing the fact that the slides are not in any order… that it is our minds which “connect” “sequence”.

I tried to re-film this all to make it simpler, but the piece really must be slide-projected to give a total sense of the paradoxes involved between knowing there is discontinuity as well as apparent continuity.  The piece is dedicated to my dear friend, Jean-Claude Lebensztejn.  It can last 5 minutes or 5 hours or 5 days or 5 weeks or 5 months or 5 years…etc.

Paul Sharits