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By David Finkelstein | June 25, 2007

“Nebulous” is a suite of 3 related abstract video shorts which provide variations on indistinct textures. “Nebulous 1” (5 minutes) presents an inner rectangle with a surging, boiling texture which at times resembles gobs of oil paint in muted tones of blue and brown, at times the mutable surface of water. The same image extends beyond the rectangle, but in black and white. Carl Seiss’s music sounds like a collection of random sounds which your lips, tongue, and teeth might make while eating, but with reverb added, and looped into an exciting series of driving rhythmic patterns. At times the inner square gives the impression of slowly expanding towards the viewer, at times it looks as if its receding. The short duration, coupled with the excitingly surging, dancing textures and snappy music make this short a pleasure to watch.

In the second video, the inner rectangle alternates between amorphous textures of blue and grey and flickering forms, as if the world is viewed through fluttering eyelids. Seiss’s music here combines calm organ chords with backwards guitar textures. A very meditative piece, at 5 minutes, it is as restful as gazing into a fireplace.

The third video returns to the hyper mood of the first. Images derived from the Hubble space telescope are projected in rapid, rhythmically repeating patterns on two concentric rectangles. The outer frame remains black. The music is loops of liquidy noises. The visual textures look like colorful marble, or Spin Art creations. In a closing section, motifs from all three videos are combined in an exciting climax. In an effective strategy of restraint, the outer black frame is only very occasionally lit with a brief flash of imagery.

Wanger and Seiss have successfully found a way to harness vagueness, and give it snap, drama, and tactile vividness.

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