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Enter the trippy, fanciful world of Soviet light art studio Prometheus

Somehow, tucked into the Kazan Aviation University in Tatarstan, USSR, inside a Faculty of Radio Engineering, the Studio “Prometheus” explored experimental aesthetics. In short, while performing the complicated dance of keeping Soviet authorities and the KGB happy, Professor Bulat Galeev and his colleagues managed to create an enormous body of work in visual music. These projects included everything from small light organs to full-scale projections, in a seemingly endless parade of inventions. And lately, Russian and Western artists alike have been rediscovering them, thanks to ongoing curatorial work by Kazan’s surviving Prometheus Institute. So while a museum was lost, Galeev …

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Volnovod is a robot sculpture that uses wire to make sound visually

Muscovite sound artist slash mad scientist vtol (aka Dmitry Morozov) has been at it yet again. This time, inspiration struck when his iPod earbuds tangled. (Good thing he hadn’t upgraded to wireless!) And the result was a new visual interface for music, embodied as kinetic sculpture. Volnovod, sounding for all the world like a long lost Soviet lunar probe (or, um, sounding like “waveguide” if you happen to speak Russian), is an installation / controller / instrument built on the idea. And it comes from the artist just as he’s fresh off a rich Berlin exhibition full of ingenious inventions. …

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Watch the Clavilux, an ethereal light organ from 100 years ago

Long before trippy visualizers and computer animation, before liquid light shows or laser parties, Thomas Wilfred was building organs for visuals. He called the art they produced Lumia, and the instrument Clavilux – a keyboard for light. That first instrument was built all the way back in 1919. But unlike a lot of the spectacles of the era, this one is still hypnotic today, even after all the advances of cinema and computing. Drawing on a tradition that included displays of fire and fireworks, and the ability to place sound “at the command of a skilled player at a piano,” …

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Making a light sculpture a musical instrument, played with Animoog on iPad

Light organs have been in use for generations. But this is the first generation that has grown up in a world of image and sound in which expression across electronic media might seem simply second nature. And oddly, as screens have become more ubiquitous, so, too, has thinking beyond them. What we see here, then, isn’t a projection. It isn’t a display. It’s a big bundle of lightbulbs, making rhythmic poetry in off and on once connected to a jumble of wires. Play the Moog app Animoog on an iPad, and that mountain of electronic junk winks back at you …

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Join Electric Indigo, Inner8 for an Immersion in Aesthetics

By way of follow up to our chat with Daniele Antezza yesterday, his Inner8 live act with sYn will meet up with another audiovisual collaboration – Susanne Kirchmyer (Electric Indigo), with visualist Thomas Wagensommerer. That takes place at Berlin’s Krake Festival next week, which means we get an extensive conversation with the two artists alongside a canal in the video below. They talk at length about aesthetics, collaboration, and connections to artistic practice: http://krake-festival.de/ Previously, on each of them: Outside dance music, systems of contemplation with Inner8, sYn Morpheme is a Microscopic Audiovisual Journey Into Sound by Electric Indigo But …

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This 3D Oscilloscope Drawing Music Might Make Your Brain Fall Out

You’ve seen oscilloscopes. You’ve heard sounds. You’ve seen oscilloscopes make visual representations of those sounds. You’ve maybe seen oscilloscopes used to make drawings while making sounds. And of course you’ve seen 3D models. But you probably haven’t seen oscilloscopes used to draw 3D models that make sounds while the sounds match the oscilloscopes in a 3D sound visual extravaganza … which then becomes an entire album with software that goes with the album so you can also use the oscilloscopes to draw 3D models to make sounds. Say what? Okay, let’s put it another way. Imagine an Etch-a-Sketch and a …

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Teaser: The Joy of Music with Light, From Russia and Beyond

::vtol:: “luminescence” workshop from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Artists are, in endless cycles, rediscovering techniques that might otherwise have been discarded. And that includes performance concepts in the audiovisual realm. I’m this week in Moscow as a guest of the Polytechnic Museum (specifically their Polytech.Science.Art program. There is, I think, no more historically apt place on Earth to explore the connection between sound and image than the land of Scriabin, Kandinsky, Ballets Russes, and constructivist art, this epicenter of the audiovisual revolution. What you probably don’t know so well is audiovisual experimentation from the later Soviet period, and that was partly …

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Sound of Threads: Music Extended Onto Strands of Icelandic Wool [AV Installations]

Sound of Threads from Bertrand Lanthiez on Vimeo. Satisfying multiple senses at once, Paris-based artist Bertrand Lanthiez shares his “Sound of Threads.” It’s a pair of audiovisual installations – and beautiful music – that combines musical elements with frail beams of light across webs of wool and dangling pieces of cloth. The interaction is simple triggering, but the result transforms his delicate sounds into a textile, material reality. And the music holds up on its own, too – a rarity, to have music from an installation that can also be self-contained.

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Peoplemeter: Experimental Film, Score Imagine a World Populated by the Things We Left Behind

As umbrellas scurry about like spiders, inanimate metal objects scuttling through emptied streets, and electronics send clicks and crackles between robots, Peoplemeter produces a post-apocalyptic world without humans. Microscopes and endoscopes shoot these objects in revelatory ways, as the musical score amplifies their sounds. These objects are animated through various effects, ranging from stop motion to more abstract portraits as textures. Director Incredible Bob makes these intimate moments a kind of cinematic object theater. The sound, too, literally comes from inanimate ephemera, transformed into experimental instruments by musician WoO of the BelgradeNoise collective. The trailer is already compelling. More details …

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Animation: Watch Moog Sub Phatty, Flying Lotus in Psychedelic, Fluid Color

The best music videos don’t just flow well with the pacing and feeling of music. They enhance it. And that’s certainly the case with the work of regular FlyLo collaborator and Adult Swim animator Adam ‘lilfuchs’ Fuchs of Atlanta, Georgia. Add in Moog, and things get seriously trippy for lovers of synthesizers. The resulting short, “Such a Square,” features Flying Lotus-produced sounds, made on a prototype of Moog’s new Sub Phatty synth. The liquid-smooth animation takes us on a psychedelic journey via Bob Moog’s mind, tracing circuitry and patch cords in acid-glowing washes of electric color. It feels like a …

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