By altering the timing pulse of the video signal, the Vasulkas could create an image that continuously drifted horizontally.  In the three-segment tape Evolution (1970), they animated a picture of the various stages of human evolution using horizontal drift.  Eventually they were able to control the speed of the drift with an external timing source called the Horizontal Drift Variable Clock.  This tool was built for them in 1972 by George Brown and allowed them to deviate from the standard horizontal frequency.

The Vasulkas then extended their experiments with erasing the boundaries of the single frame in a series of multiple monitor works.  Said Woody: "The electromagnetic spectrum exists, organized or unorganized, totally in space.  Confining it to a single monitor is like a view through a camera or a single projection frame. " 27  Unlike other multiple-monitor displays (now known as installations), which were often based on McLuhan's notion of the simultaneous reception of sense data, those by the Vasulkas did not mimic "information overload." 28  Rather, their early multiple-monitor works were intended to violate the single frame confined within a single box.  In many of these early pieces, a very simple imagewould sweep across a band of monitors.  Spaces I and Spaces II (1972), for instance, featured horizontal drift and video-activated sound.  In Spaces II, three layers of visible textures and shapes were keyed, and the image planes, visible on all monitors simultaneously, swept horizontally.

While the Vasulkas initially focused on two basic areas - horizontal drift and the audio-visual relationship - they began to expand their repertoire of effects by commissioning various people to build specialized video equipment.  As Steina recalls,

In the spring of 1970, which was the first year we were working, we met Eric Siegel, and we immediately fell in with him very well.  And he made use of equipment we had gotten, and we got to use his colorizer, and he helped Woody to build one.  He made the boards, and then Woody wired everything together, which was the first wiring experience that Woody got into with video.  As soon as we got the first money from the State Arts Council [NYSCA], we set a little aside for tool development, and our tool person became George Brown.

In addition to the Horizontal Drift Variable Clock, Brown constructed a switcher in 1971.  He also made a cascading or multi-keyer in 1973.  Unlike most keyers, which key two images - one over another - the multi-keyer could key up to six images.  This allowed images to be manipulated to create foreground-background relationships.  In 1974 Brown also made a programmer, a digital device which could store and replay a sequence of operations such as a switching or keying order.

Between 1971 and 1974 the Vasulkas made numerous tapes utilizing these tools in increasingly complex combinations.  Black Sunrise (1971), described by the Vasulkas as a

-->> next page