CVM Symposium 2018: Exploring & Preserving Visual Music

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The CVM Symposium 2018: Exploring and Preserving Visual Music will explore the theories, histories and practices of Visual Music. It features two days of talks and presentations from international scholars, artists, students, curators and researchers (August 14-15), plus a final half day of special sessions. Set in Sonoma County’s wine country, the symposium also features several special events.

A series of 5 screenings occur throughout, featuring historical and contemporary visual music works. The symposium provides a forum to share research, examine the history of visual music as it relates to other arts, and encourage discussion of the future of our field through preservation and education.

CVM is pleased to present this symposium in association with Sonoma State University at their Rohnert Park campus. The Thursday closing event is presented in collaboration with Sebastopol Center for the Arts.


  • Keynote: Color is the Keyboard
    Margaret Schedel, Stony Brook University, NY
  • Keynote: Oskar Fischinger, Preserving Visual Music and Raumlichtkunst
    Cindy Keefer, Center for Visual Music, Los Angeles, CA
  • Talk: Teaching Visual Music
    Heike Sperling, Institut für Musik und Medien, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • John Cage and Audiovisuality
    Richard Brown, Musicologist, Los Angeles, CA
  • Psychedelic Light Shows of the 1960s
    Steve Cheatham, Electric Collage, Atlanta, GA
  • Where Modern Art Was Headed
    Fred Collopy, Ph.D, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • XYScope
    Ted Davis, Academy of Art and Design, Basel, Switzerland
  • Heated Hardware: Preserving Video Image Processing Instruments
    Caitlin Denny, Archivist, filmmaker, Los Angeles, CA
  • The Neural AV Mapper: An Instrument for the Performance of Abstract Visual Music
    Bryan Dunphy, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
  • Sonification and Music Visualization, Abstract Narratives and Concrete Poems
    Paul Fletcher, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Hybrid Analogue/Digital Computing for Live Visual Music Performance
    Joseph Hyde, Composer, media artist, Bath Spa University, UK
  • James Whitney’s Turn to Pottery
    Braden Malnic, Independent Researcher, Washington, D.C.
  • The Code of the Cano
    Jasmine Moorhead, Independent Researcher, Potter Valley, CA
  • A Metaphor Toolkit For Visually Mapping Musical Scores
    Jack Ox, Intermedia Projects, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • In Media Res: Light as the Medium of Visual Music in Prewar American Art.
    Pierre-Jacques Pernuit, PhD candidate in Art History, Sorbonne, Paris
  • Norman McLaren: Audiovisual Aesthetics
    Henrique Roscoe, Federal University, of Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Are Light Instruments Color Organs?
    Ralph Whyte, Ph.D candidate, Columbia University, NY

See full details here.


Screenings & Events

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 7 pm at Ives Hall, SSU

- Restorations & Discoveries, 7 pm

Restored, rare and very rare films. Highlights include the rare Meluka cigarette commercial (1934) by Oskar Fischinger, not seen in many decades, plus his Pink Guards toothpaste commercial; both recently discovered at Gosfilmofond, Moscow; Len Lye's All Souls Carnival (recently re-discovered and restored, US premiere) and Life's Musical Minute; and Bruce Conner's Looking for Mushrooms and Cosmic Ray (from the 4K restoration projects). Plus Fischinger's Sugar Pops cereal ad (from CVM) and restorations by CVM including Jules Engel's Accident. This screening is co-sponsored by Brad and Mary Glanden.

- Optical Poetry: Oskar Fischinger Retrospective, 8:30 pm

Classic films by the "Father of Visual Music," the new HD digital version of this popular program. Films include Allegretto, Radio Dynamics, Muratti greift ein, Studie nr. 6, Studie nr. 7, Studie nr. 8, Kreise (Circles), Motion Painting no. 1, Walking from Munich to Berlin, Ornament Sound experiments and more.This screening is co-sponsored by David Magness.


Wednesday, Aug. 15, 7 pm at Ives Hall, SSU

- Oskar's Legacy: Films Influenced by Fischinger, 7 pm

From the early days of visual music, animators and filmmakers acknowledged Fischinger's profound influence on their work. Here we present films from Mary Ellen Bute (Color Rhapsodie), Len Lye (Colour Box), Barry Spinello (Soundtrack), Jules Engel and others across 8 decades. Program includes work by contemporary artists Chris Casady, Michel Gagné, Jeff Scher, Oerd van Cuijlenborg, Jeff Scher, Baerbel Neubauer, Eric Leiser and more. This screening is co-sponsored by Creative Tech Week.

- New Visual Music, 8:30 pm

Two premieres: the US premiere of Max Hattler's Matter and Motion, and the world premiere of Paul Fletcher's Blackhole Mandala. Work by international artists including Greta Macri, Scott Draves, Sean Capone, Paul Prudence, Bret Battey, Steve Woloshen, Sabrina Gross, Richard Baily, Steve Wood.

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2 pm at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Special Closing Event

Treasures from the CVM Archive (16mm prints), 2 pm

Part of a Special Symposium Closing Event, followed by a panel discussion, "What is the Future of Visual Music?" and 5 pm wine reception. Presented in collaboration with Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

This screening features films by Oskar Fischinger, Mary Ellen Bute, Len Lye, Norman McLaren, Jordan Belson, Charles Dockum, Harry Smith, Jud Yalkut, Single Wing Turquoise Bird Light Show, and others, including many restored 16mm prints. From 1920s black and white film to psychedelia, we present a journey through visual music's history. The program also includes rare ad films by Lye and Fischinger, for an airline and television sets.


PLUS Special Video Spotlights during the daytime Symposium Aug. 14 and 15.

Documentations of performances, installations and events by Robert Seidel, Kathy Hinde, Rue Bainbridge, Chris Harvey, Kurt Laurenz Theinert, and Jeremy Rotsztain (Tuesday). Barbara Fischinger on Oskar's Lumigraph (Tuesday), and Kit Smyth Basquin (biographer) on Mary Ellen Bute (Wed.). Plus the rare film Yantra Study by Elwood Decker (Wednesday) and other surprises from the Archive.



De Martes, Agosto 14, 2018 (Todo el día) hasta Jueves, Agosto 16, 2018 (Todo el día)