Utrecht, Netherlands

Visual Music: History, Repertoire and Methods

online course
when 24 August 2020 - 28 August 2020
language English
duration 1 week
fee EUR 695

Please note that this is an online course.

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 fields. 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 harness 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 practive 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 695: Course + Course materials
EUR 200: Housing fee (optional)

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