Netherlands, Utrecht

Visual Music: History, Repertoire and Methods

when 19 August 2019 - 30 August 2019
language English
duration 2 weeks
fee EUR 850

Visual music is one of the most exciting current developments in the digital arts. From the live audiovisual performances by HKU alumni Tarik Barri for Thom Yorke, to the sublime installation art of Rioji Ikeda, new technologies are enabling profound artistic expression in many different genres. These new technological possibilities introduce novel conceptual dilemmas for how to correlate audio events to visual parameters in an artistically interesting way.How can we harnass these new technologies to enable previously undiscovered opportunities for artistic expression? What research has already been done?

During this course we will uncover the conceptual and technological roots of audiovisual music, from Scriabin's 'colour organs' at the turn of the previous century, to John Whitney's pioneering motion control system for complex graphics, to the development of high-speed GPUs that enable complex graphics rendering in real-time. The emphasis will be on the combination of generative computer graphics with sound and music, in both a compositional context as well as creating systems for improvisation and performance.

The lesson days are divided into two halves: each morning will consist of a lecture focussing on the history, current practice, and future directions of the field. We will study significant historical works such as Scriabin's Prometheus: The Poem of Fire, Oskar Fischinger's An Optical Poem, and several works by the Whitney brothers and Lillian Schwartz, before moving on to contemporary work by Robert Henke, Tarik Barri, Rioji Ikeda and Ryoichi Kurokawa.

In the afternoons we will work with several software packages for generating audiovisual music in real-time, such as Max/Jitter, Processing and p5js. Practical programming exercises will be given to the students which are to be completed in-class, such that individual coaching and guidance can be given by the instructor.

Course leader

Marcel Wierckx

Target group

This course is designed for students interested in the digital arts and who have an affinity with software programming and musical composition or performance. Some programming and/or musical experience is recommended.

Fee info

EUR 850: Course fee
EUR 350: Housing fee

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