James Seo


Four interactive sketches for the simultaneous visualization of multiple points in time within video. Each sketch has its own method of defining regions within the rectangular frame of the video, and each region has its own shift in the displayed time point and its own rate of time flow. Combined with time-lapse or looped video clips as source material, each sketch generates a crudely synthesized image of different time points within the shared visual space.

Below are sample movies of the four sketches named Slide, Smudge, Split and Splotch. Currently the sketches can only run locally on the desktop. I plan to work on online applet versions.

Made with Processing. Video clips from various sites were used to test the sketches; the list of video sources is at the bottom of this page.


You can draw boxes to create rectangular regions, each with its own rate of time flow. The boxes can be static or animated in different directions and speeds.

Asynchrony - Slide (Cup) Asynchrony - Slide (Dance)
Slide (Cup) (QuickTime, 8MB) Slide (Dance) (QuickTime, 8MB)


You can make time ripple and shift forward in different areas using your mouse. Time is shifted within a radius; the amount of time shifted depends on the distance from the mouse location.

Asynchrony - Smudge (City) Asynchrony - Smudge (Bush)
Smudge (City) (QuickTime, 9MB) Smudge (Bush) (QuickTime, 5MB)


You can divide the frame into multiple rectangular regions as you create new quadrants, rows or columns. You can also use shortcuts that immediately set up a uniform NxN grid.

Asynchrony - Split (Head) Asynchrony - Split (Blinds)
Split (Head) (QuickTime, 11MB) Split (Blinds) (QuickTime, 12MB)


You can paint the desired region onto the frame. Each region can have one of three modes for its video: a strobe-like multi-image effect; faster playback; reverse playback.

Asynchrony - Splotch (Body) Asynchrony - Splotch (Drive)
Splotch (Body) (QuickTime, 6MB) Splotch (Drive) (QuickTime, 21MB)

I started these sketches at first because I wanted to be able to easily try different ideas for layout while making split-screen videos. It can be frustrating to use consumer-level video editing applications for this purpose, because they require several steps (and possibly long rendering times) to generate each multi-layered shot, and you can't play with many ideas quickly. I wanted to be able to draw lines and rectangles inside the frame, use the mouse to set some playback parameters, and see immediately the resulting video. Later, I started to work on sketches that did not rely on rectangles and grids but more freeform regions of time shift.

Inspiration for these sketches came from artworks and films where multiple time points and rates of flow were visualized as a whole. Below are four examples: Chungking Express by Wong Kar-Wai; David Graves by David Hockney; Swirls and Eddies by Harold Edgerton; Head-spring, a Flying Pigeon Interfering by Eadweard Muybridge. Click for larger images.

Thanks to the video sources.
Dance - Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
City - The RAD Blog
Bush - Depresident
Drive - Lacquer