gifCollider: The Night Vision

by Greg Niemeyer


The shape of the menorah is anchored in the night vision of the Prophet Zechariah. In the text, Zechariah does not understand what he sees, and asks an interpreting angel about the meaning of the vision (Zechariah 4:1-14). This question about meaning also arises for us, when we are engaging in the complexities of our current lives. Night Vision’s computer-generated image traces the shape of the menorah in a sea of GIF animations from the Internet Archive, layering, moving, and blurring them to suggest stratas of digital memory. Above these layers, the program draws and redraws the basic shape of the menorah, the pipes and the two olive trees from Zechariah’s vision. The colors change from cycle to cycle and from day to day. The animations interweave the noise of contemporary life with the pure spiritual form of the menorah, and invite us to answer the same question that Zechariah was asked: “What seest thou?”

Passage: Zechariah 4:1-3

And the angel that spoke with me returned, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And he said unto me: “What seest thou?” And I said: “I have seen, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes, yea, seven, to the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.”


The Night Vision does not run on cell phones yet /: it is a big screen, fast browser experience. While you can enjoy the "original" animation as long as you want, you can also create your own design.

To do so, press the "d" key while your cursor is in the browser. This switches the Night Vision into "draw mode". The animation stops and you can see a simple diagram for the basic structure of the Menorah. You can draw any path you want in this space, it does not have to be a Menorah. Click to mark the first point, then move your mouse and click again to draw next points.

  • Hit "Enter" to store a path and start a new one
  • "z" key to delete last point on the active path
  • "x" to erase the whole active path
  • "Del" to erase last saved path
  • "r" to run gifcollider with your new path.
  • "s" to save: We are not saving your designs, but you can save it yourself as a .json file
  • "q" to quit the drawing mode and go back to the "original" version.
  • Ready? Here's the link to Night Vision.

    Note: it takes about a minute to load all the good stuff. The project is tested for the Chrome browser only.