On Screen/Sound: No. 14

Oskar Fischinger / Mary Ellen Bute / Ryoichi Kurokawa

Friday, April 8, 2016
April 8, 2016

On Screen Sound: No.14
 brings together a series of films from the 1930s and ’40s by early animation pioneers Mary Ellen Bute (1906-1983) and Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) with a digital moving-image work made over 70 years later by Novi_sad and Ryoichi Kurokawa. 

Both Mary Ellen Bute and Oskar Fischinger explored the correspondence of moving images and sounds in their work. Many of Fischinger’s films combine image and music into tightly choreographed works of motion. He continually advanced the technical and aesthetic boundaries of abstract film. Notable techniques include early silent film experiments of thinly sliced wax forms to “ornament sound” films created by photographing objects onto the optical soundtrack of the filmstrip to create “direct” sound from the material. Between the 1930s and ’50s, Bute’s films were grounded within the tradition of “visual music” through a series of abstract film techniques that she called “Seeing Sound.” An early proponent of electronic art, Bute undertook collaborative research with Leon Theremin, and by 1954 she used a cathode ray oscilloscope to create several abstract films. 

Equally committed to the innovative intersection of the visual and sonic, Novi_sad and Ryoichi Kurokawa project animation into the 21st century with their 2012 collaboration, Sirens, which uses data processing to create pulsing, impossibly detailed images and sounds.

  • Ornament Sound Experiments (1932)
    Oskar Fischinger
  • Study No. 7 (1931)
    Oskar Fischinger / Music: Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5
  • Polka Graph (1947)
    Mary Ellen Bute / Music: Shostakovich’s Polka from The Age of Gold
  • Tarantella (1940)
    Mary Ellen Bute / Music: Edwin Gerschefski
  • Sirens (2012)
    Ryoichi Kurokawa / Music: Novi_sad
  • Approximate runtime: 69 minutes
Victoria Brooks
On S/S: No. 14
Approximate Runtime: 69 minutes
April 8, 2016, 7PM
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EMPAC 2015–16 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts.