[ 16. Dezember 2010 ]

CALL – Submissions for „Organized Sound“ – Issue: Composing Motion – A Visual Music Retrospective

Call for submissions
Organised Sound: An International Journal of Music and Technology

Call for submissions

Volume 17, Number 2
Issue thematic title: Composing Motion: a Visual Music Retrospective
Date of Publication: August 2012
Publishers: Cambridge University Press

Issue co-ordinators: Margaret Schedel, Stony Brook University
(mschedel@gmail.com ) and Nick Fox-Gieg, York
University (nick@fox-gieg.com )

Visual music holds an important place at the cutting edge of today’s art,
but as a term it has been with us for almost a century. In 1912, art critic
Roger Fry coined the term „visual music“ in an attempt to describe
Kandinsky’s paintings, generally recognised to be the first purely abstract
canvases. Connecting Kandinsky’s non-representational art to the abstract
nature of music was a way to explain and interpret this new art form. Today,
the concept of visual music refers to visuals „composed and presented with
aesthetic strategies and procedures similar to those employed in the
composing or performance of music“1. Examples include abstract silent films
music, works using manual, mechanical, or algorithmic means of transcoding
sound to image, and even pieces which translate image into sound. Visual
music has also come to refer to a cross-disciplinary practice, which
originated in cinema in the 1930s through the work of filmmakers including
Oskar Fischinger, Mary Ellen Bute, and Len Lye. By the 1950s a new
generation of animators, including Norman McLaren, began the now commonplace
practice of merging the roles of composer and filmmaker by creating
sophisticated soundtracks to accompany their images. In the twenty-first
century artists can finally perform visuals, whether frame-by-frame or in
real time, with the same nuanced control that musicians have had for
thousands of years.

Artists and musicians thought to be synaesthetes, such as Kandinsky and
Scriabin, have played an important role in the development of visual music.
Perhaps this is why the ability to create art that mimics the involuntary
and instant synaesthetic experience in real-time has long been a paramount
goal for many practitioners. While standout individual accomplishments of
visual music performance occurred in the analog era, formidable economic
barriers limited its development. The recent availability of inexpensive
computer technology has allowed audio-visual performance practices,
including improvisation, to become widespread, creating a vibrant community
of musicians and filmmakers who constantly develop the field.

As animation historian William Moritz wrote, „Since ancient times artists
have longed to create with moving lights a music for the eye comparable to
the effects of sound for the ear. If they were less successful than
composers of auditory music, the sole reason rests in the fact that light is
harder to manipulate than air“2. The accessibility and adaptability of
today’s visual music technology makes it possible for us to take the
artistic possibilities of earlier analog efforts, such as ‚colour organs‘,
out of the museum and put them in the hands of millions of people.

The language of electroacoustic music is particularly suited for the
abstract imagery of visual music. If music is organised sound then visual
music is organised image. Just as sound art „can no longer be confined to
the organisation of notes“3 visual music needs to move beyond a vocabulary
developed for static images and instead shift to a gestural language of
time-based design. We hope this issue will encourage scholars from both the
visual and sonic spheres who will draw upon the scholarship of experimental
electroacoustic composition to create compelling investigations of any of
the following topics:

Tension between sound and vision
Surveys and case studies regarding modern or historical visual music
Rhetorics for describing, analysing, and critiquing visual music
Ontologies of visual music, questions of medium-specificity and modernism
Synaesthesia and other cognitive approaches to the perception of visual
Visual music as metaphor for intermedia/multimedia production
Visual music, experimental film, and classical film theory
Cantastoria, „lightning artists,“ and the performance roots of animation
Artist and programmer collaboration then and now
Code as the „new new media“
Innovations in procedural graphics and sound
Generative algorithms as „conceptual“ visual music
The rise of digital video, 1995-2005
New ideas in intermedia telematic collaboration
Kandinsky’s Point and Line to Plane and other algorithmic approaches to
visual music
Projection mapping in performance

As always, submissions related to the theme are encouraged; however, those
that fall outside the scope of this theme are always welcome.

Deadline for submissions is 15 October 2011. Submissions may consist of
papers, with optional supporting short compositions or excerpts,
audio-visual documentation of performances and/or other aspects related to
your submission that can be placed onto a DVD and the CUP website for
„Organised Sound“. Supporting audio and audio-visual material will be
presented as part of the journal’s annual DVD-ROM which will appear with
issue 17/3 as well on the journal’s website.

1 McDonnell, Maura. 2007. „Visual Music.“ In the Visual Music Marathon
Program brochure.
2 Moritz, William. 1986. „Towards an Aesthetics of Visual Music.“ ASIFA
Canada Bulletin, Vol. 14:3, Montreal.
3 Wishart, Trevor. 1996. On Sonic Art. Amsterdam: Overseas Publishers
Association. Pg 7.


Notes for Contributors and further details can be obtained from the inside
back cover of published issues of Organised Sound or at the following url:

(and download the pdf)

Properly formatted email submissions and general queries should be sent to:
os@dmu.ac.uk, not to the guest editors.

Hard copy of articles and images (only when requested) and other material
(e.g., sound and audio-visual files, etc.-normally max. 15′ sound files or
8′ movie files) should be submitted to:

Prof. Leigh Landy
Organised Sound
Clephan Building
De Montfort University
Leicester LE1 9BH, UK.

Editor: Leigh Landy
Associate Editors: Ross Kirk and Richard Orton
Regional Editors: Joel Chadabe, Lonce Wyse, Eduardo Miranda, Jøran Rudi,
Barry Truax, Ian Whalley, David Worrall
International Editorial Board: Marc Battier, Hannah Bosma, Alessandro
Cipriani, Simon Emmerson, , Kenneth Field, Rajmil Fischman, Rosemary
Mountain, Tony Myatt, Jean-Claude Risset, Margaret Schedel, Mary Simoni,
Martin Supper