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    Creating Affective Visual Music

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2018)

    London, UK, 9 - 13 July 2018


    Julie Watkins



    This paper delineates the on-going development of a methodology for creating affective visual music. Visual music is a creative practice that does not split the eye and ear; it problematizes this long-standing duality and seeks to make a singularity. Visual music encompasses many types of output: abstract paintings, time-based performance art such as colour organs, abstract film, projected light shows, art installations of film and expanded cinema (digital media). The impulse to find correspondences between music and visuals and use these to create a new genre has a long history. This practice-based research is historicised and highlights both the key seminal influences underpinning the work and the innovations embodied within it.

    This paper will discuss experimental, visual music pieces from my own practice (Watkins 2016, 2017, 2018) that employ Ron Kuivila’s strategy ‘over’ technology and seminal works from the visual music canon. Visual music is often approached from the viewpoint of a musical composer, this practice-based research is visually led; visual structures, rather than musical structures, are explored. Visual music can be perceived as overly repetitive, cold and alienating if it has a purely mechanical alignment of music to image, or if it seems disengaged from both human emotions and natural imagery. A key objective is to create work that is non-figurative, non-narrative, pre-language, extra-language, and yet suffused with human presence, to create visual music that is affective.


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