This is one of the earlier works of John Whitney; one of the techniques he uses is oil-wipe animation, which allows for hand gestures to be turned into an animation of abstract lines.
He also manipulated various contact copies, mixing negative and positive film. He would run a sequence through the optical printer using a single color; then, he’d run another sequence using a second color. The final footage for “Celery stalks at midnight” was obtained from multiple runs through the optical printer using only three colors.
1917 | Los Angeles·CA, USA / +1995
From his earliest experiments with the medium of computer graphic systems, John Whitney Sr. has balanced a cutting edge use of technology with a strong sense of artistic control and integrity. Considered by many to be the "father of Computer Graphics", John Whitney Sr. -and the entire Whitney family- have successfully linked musical composition with experimental film and computer imaging. Since his recognized works in the first International Experimental Film Competition in Belgium, 1949, to his masterpiece Arabesque in 1975, John Whitney Sr. remained a true pioneer until his passing in 1996 at age 78.
-- The John Whitney Sr. Biographical Website