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date: 22 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the historical lineage and conceptual origins of visual music, addressing the turn to abstraction and absolute film in visual arts, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century, and the turn to mimesis and spatialization in music, particularly through the acousmatic tradition after World War II. The chapter proposes a convergence between visual artists and musicians that prompted the former to embrace time through a shift away from mimesis toward abstraction, and the latter to adopt greater focus on space in shifting from abstraction toward mimesis. Together, these historical shifts prefigure the development of audiovisual art, revealing underlying theoretical commonalities in the articulation of time and space that suggest fundamental dynamics of the audiovisual contract and strategies available to the visual music creator to establish a synergy of sound and image. Some of these strategies are demonstrated in two original case studies.

Keywords: visual music, audiovisual, absolute film, abstraction, electroacoustic, mimesis, music spatialization, space, audiovisual contract

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