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A Dissertation on Visual Music

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 27, 2004 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  

research: VISUAL MUSIC

This dissertation by Jerry Holsopple is an interesting read, mostly because it also discusses new technologies such as After Effects rather than remaining limited to film as most older studies (necessarily) are.

In addition to the philosophical/theoretical side of this dissertation is an experimental attempt to apply the theories. The work of Peter Greenaway figures prominently in the construction of the whole, a fact that surprised me given the much more direct relationship to be found in the work of Fischinger or the Whitneys, but this is a European disertation, so perhaps their absence shouldn't be that surprising after all.

There is an extensive section on Fred Collopy however, it is Schopenhauer whose ideas are embraced most fully and with the least amout of critical consideration. His assertions about music being an expression of "Will" are accepted without considering the philosophical grounding these assertions originate within.

I am tempted to say there is much research that is missing from this study since the validity of visual music without sound to support it remains in doubt with this author. Where is Stan Brakhage, Fischinger, the Whitneys, Hirsch, et al. -- all those artists who were doing this with film over the past several decades? Where is the discussion of color organs, etc? Several obvious books and artists are missing from this discussion, and their absence is disturbing: these things being absent make me wonder about this study generally.

Still it is an interesting read at 250 pages, and worth looking at in any case.


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