UCSB Media Arts and Technology (MAT), Center for Visual Music (Los Angeles), and Corwin Chair, UCSB Department of Music, present 

Image: Jack Ox

Exploring Visual Music  - A special one day Symposium

November 16, 2013
University of California, Santa Barbara
11 am, CSNI, Elings Hall, Lab 2611

To further the development of new modes and technologies for representation and creation in the field of Visual Music, MAT, CVM and Corwin Chair present a one-day symposium investigating the aesthetics, techniques and histories of visual music. The event at UCSB includes a series of 20 minute talks by invited presenters, plus short screenings of historical and
contemporary visual music films. Presenters include Clarence Barlow, Cindy Keefer, Jack Ox, Casey Mongoven, and special guest Barbara Fischinger.



Robert Seidel, scrape


11 am Welcome remarks by Clarence Barlow, UCSB; Introduction to program by Cindy Keefer, Center for Visual Music. Plus 2 short opening videos.


Jack Ox, University of New Mexico/CVM: Cruising through 35 years of visualizing music

btn Clarence Barlow, Corwin Chair, UCSB Dept. of Music: On the visualization of sound and the sonification of the visual in my work 

12:10 Short Film program, Visual Music Classics 1 - Early Experiments

12:30 Break

12:45 - 1:00   Short Film program, Visual Music Classics 2 – Color and Form. Oskar Fischinger, Mary Ellen Bute, Harry Smith, Norman McLaren

btn Casey Mongoven, Lecturer, UCSB, Aesthetic Effect of Providing Synchronized Visualizations with Sonifications

1:30 - 2:30    Lunch, on your own

btn Cindy Keefer, Director, Center for Visual Music: Light Scores, Color Organs and Expanded Cinema: An introduction to the Archives of Center for Visual Music

btn Barbara Fischinger, Fischinger Trust/CVM: Oskar Fischinger - Synchronizing Music and Films

     Jordan Belson's Allures

3:20    Short Film program, Visual Music Classics 3 – Eastern Influences. Jordan Belson & more

           Short Film program, Contemporary Visual Music - work by Kurt Laurenz Theinert, Bret Battey, Robert Seidel, Scott Draves, Steve Woloshen and more.


Visual Piano

Kurt Laurenz Theinert, Visual Piano






Jack Ox will cruise through her 35 year journey of music visualization including Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements, Debussy's Nuages, Anton Bruckner's Symphony # 8,  Clarence Barlow's  Im Januar am Nil, and Kurt Schwitters'  Ursonate. She will speak about her methods for mapping information contained in a  score to a "visual performance" and how these are processes of analogy and conceptual blending. Image: Im Januar am Nil visualized in the 20th C.  Virtual Color Organ: composer- Clarence Barlow, visualization by Jack Ox and David Britton



Clarence Barlow: Technically, the visualisation of music can be pursued in developing prescriptive performance scores or for descriptive analysis. Esthetically, it could be sound-derived images that satisfy, or - in image sonification - the pleasure of extracting convincing music from optical sources, a source-result comparison enhancing the enjoyment. Clarence Barlow, long fascinated by links between sound and image as manifest in the intrinsically musical, fundamentally spatial, ultimately visual concepts of Position, Motion and Color, will give examples from four decades of his activity in the field. Image: Relationships #4 for two pianos by Clarence Barlow in a graphic realisation by the composer



Casey Mongoven: Sonifications are the audio equivalent of visual graphs. Just about any data that can be graphed visually can also be turned into a sonic graph. Similar to the function of a traditional musical score, providing listeners who are listening to sonifications with synchronized visualizations of the same data can help them better understand what they are hearing. In this talk, we will compare and discuss the experience of listening to various types of sonifications of mathematical objects such as integer sequences with and without visualizations. I will then outline some experimental methods that could potentially be utilized to answer the question: Is there an identifiable trend in terms of synchronized visualizations having an effect on aesthetic experience? Image courtesy the artist



Cindy Keefer will present an overview of Center for Visual Music's collections, including light scores, graphic notated scores, Fischinger's drawn "ornament" synthetic sound experiments c. 1932, early color organs and instruments constructed to perform visual music. She will show documentation relating to Jordan Belson's Vortex Concerts (1957-59) in San Francisco's Morrison Planetarium, and Fischinger's multiple projector performances of 1926, Raumlichtkunst, recently reconstructed by CVM and installed in museum exhibitions. Image: Raumlichtkunst, Three screen HD reconstruction by CVM, Installation view at Whitney Museum, New York, (c) CVM.



Fisch AM score


Barbara Fischinger, daughter of Oskar Fischinger, often observed her father working in his home studio, and assisted in the creation of selected animation.  She will discuss her father’s practice and working methods as related to his short visual music films, paintings, and the Lumigraph, his real time color light play instrument, which Ms. Fischinger has been performing since c. 1948. Ms. Fischinger is a Trustee of The Fischinger Trust. Image: Detail from Fischinger's graphic score for animation for his film An American March, Collection Center for Visual Music



Admission is free.

Location Info and UCSB Campus Map

MAT Events

THANKS TO: George Legrady, Curtis Roads, Xarene Eskandar, James Tobias, Marisa Ortega

Images (c) Center for Visual Music, Fischinger Trust, and the individual artists.
Films from the collection of Center for Visual Music and courtesy the artists, some screened digitally.




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Center for Visual Music is a non-profit Los Angeles archive dedicated to the preservation, research and distribution of Visual Music. 



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Oskar Fischinger Research Site