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   avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory

Viking Eggeling's Universelle Sprache (Universal Language)

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 20, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

An Excerpt from The History of Motion Graphics:


The abstract films produced by Viking Eggeling (1880 1925) and Hans Richter (1888 1976) between 1920 and 1926, unlike the work of Ruttmann, begin withand steadily explorea geometric formal language. Both Richter and Eggeling were working on similar problems and arriving at similar solutions when they met in 1918; however, Eggeling had made more progress in the development of a systematic abstraction. The initial version of this language was being developed independently by Eggeling in his paintings, and theoretically as the Generalbass der Malerei, (1918, Bassline Painting); a more formal version would be published as a pamphlet in 1920 under the title Universelle Sprache (Universal Language). Their relationship was discussed by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in his book Painting Photography Film written in 1924, and published in 1925:




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Mary Ellen Bute's Synchronization of Sound and Image

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 13, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

An Excerpt from The History of Motion Graphics:

Mary Ellen Bute (1906 1983) was originally trained as a painter at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. After graduating in the early 1920s, she moved to New York and became involved with the same concerns with movement, rhythm and synaesthetic form that were common to the European avant-garde before World War II. Her engagement with these issues is apparent through her associations: she was closely involved with the community of visual music inventors and musicians in New York in the 1920s and early 1930s. During this period, she worked in the studio of Leon Theremin, and it is likely that through this connection she encountered Schillinger who was collaborating with Theremin on the development of the electronic musical instrument that bears his name; Bute read the paper about this instrument while Theremin demonstrated it to the New York Musicological Society. She would later also work in Thomas Wilfreds studio, learning to perform on the Clavilux.




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Mary Hallock-Greenewalt's Nourathar

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 6, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

An Excerpt from The History of Motion Graphics:

Between 1919 and 1927 Mary Hallock-Greenewalt (1871 1951) filed eleven patents, primarily containing innovations in electrical lighting, while performing as a piano soloist with both the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Some of these patents describe complex systems of electrically switched lights, remote controlled motors that can switch filters and change gobos in lamps, and a central switching board capable of manipulating all the lamps at the same time. Her various patents were formal descriptions of the elements (including a system of notation based on scores for music) that created a new, technological art form. These components were all created to produce the carefully orchestrated graduations of colored light that are the foundation of her system of visual music, which she named Nourathara combination of Arabic words meaning essence of light.




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Walther Ruttmann's Lichtspiel Films

story © Michael Betancourt | published February 27, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

An Excerpt from The History of Motion Graphics:

The term absolute film differentiates the fully abstract films produced in Germany from the related, also abstract films, produced in Paris such as Ballet Mchanique. Both groups of work are commonly grouped together as Dada cinema. This collection of films by Walther Ruttmann, Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling are the oldest fully abstract motion pictures still known to survive. While all lived in Germany and produced their films at around the same time, they did not constitute a group or movement. The first productions by Ruttmann date to the years following the end of World War I, during the lead up to the onset of the German hyperinflation following the collapse of the Reichsmark in July 1922.




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vague terrain 09: rise of the vj

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 9, 2008 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

The new issue of Vague Terrain is all about VJs and VJing. Vague Terrain 09: Rise of the VJ was guest curated by Saskatoon-based VJ/artist Carrie Gates and presents a great, international selection of video and theory.






 

Syncronized Sound and Image

story © Michael Betancourt | published October 7, 2007 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

OffScreen has a special issue on film sound up, with a forum on synchronization between image and sound, specifically about Visual Music.






 

Abstract Hand-Painted Film article in MFJ

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 15, 2007 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

Millennium Film Journal 45/46 includes my article on Mary Hallock Greenewalt's "Abstract Films." These are the oldest surviving hand-painted abstract films. [link to pdf]






 

Jack Ox's Color Organ

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 26, 2006 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

The Color Organ that Jack Ox has on his site looks very interesting. With clips and other info






 

A History of Color Music

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 20, 2006 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

Here is a recent paper discussing the development of Color Music [pdf]. This version is for preview purposes only.






 

Visual Music and Abstraction

story © Michael Betancourt | published February 2, 2006 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Visual Music

Later this month I'm giving this Barbara Wilson Lecture on the history of visual music and abstract art at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.