Visual Music 1947-1986 from the CVM Archive


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Thirteen rare films featuring pre-computer abstraction, using a variety of techniques including early oscilloscope experiments, color organs, hand-drawn sound, animation drawn directly on film, painted scrolls, and optical printing. Films from the archive of Center for Visual Music.

- Mary Ellen Bute: Polka Graph (1947), Color Rhapsodie (1948) and Abstronic (1952)
- Jordan Belson: Mandala (1953), Meditation (1971) and Chakra (1972)
- Charles Dockum: Mobilcolor Performance at the Guggenheim (1952), Demonstration of Mobilcolor Projector (documentary, 1966) and Mobilcolor Performance Film (1969)
- Barry Spinello, Sonata for Pen, Brush and Ruler (1968)
- Jules Engel: Landscape (1971), Mobiles (1978) and Play-Pen (1986)

From Bute’s ‘seeing sound’ to Belson’s nonobjective language, Dockum’s color organ imagery, the graphic choreography of Engel’s animation, and Barry Spinello’s hand-drawn sound and images, we present a selection of Visual Music from the CVM archive.

Bute's Polka Graph uses Schillinger's musical notation to generate the visual complement to the soundtrack, while Abstronic uses images produced from sound using an oscilloscope.  Mandala is one of Belson’s first films to use mandala imagery, filmed from his painted scrolls, while according to Belson, Meditation is “a poetic, abstracted account of the meditational experience.”  The Mobilcolor films document Dockum's instruments for composing and performing light as symphonies, and Spinello and Engel's films explore styles of hand drawn animation.

Contains many restored films and new HD transfers. Meditation, Chakra, and the Dockum and Engel films were restored by CVM. Engel films restored in association with NOMI Group.

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30 USD

Publishing date: 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017







Aspect ratio: