The UCSB Media Arts and Technology (MAT) graduate program held a one-day visual music symposium called “Exploring Visual Music” on Saturday at Elings Hall.
The symposium focused on musical experiments dealing with light and color, and included screenings of short historic and contemporary visual music films. Guest speakers included Jack Ox, research associate professor of music technology at the University of New Mexico; Clarence Barlow, UCSB music professor and Corwin Chair of Composition; Barbara Fischinger, daughter of German-American visual music pioneer Oskar Fischinger; Cindy Keefer, curator of the Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles and Casey Mongoven, a graduate student in MAT.
As the first presenter, Ox took the audience through 40 years of her career in visual music, placing particular emphasis upon the relationship of time and space. Ox said she analyzed the architecture of buildings, in relation to the field of visual music and the artists whose pieces she worked with.
“The amount of space must be determined for every piece of music,” Ox said.
During his presentation, Barlow showed clips of his work while speaking on the creation of images through music and vice versa. He has performed at numerous music festivals, but said he enjoys the symposium setting more because people “are more interested on the visual aspect of what is being shown.”
His attempts to create music supplemented with visuals first began in 1972, while studying under German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.
“I could hear the music on tape, but I needed to see it as well,” Barlow said.
Since then, he has worked extensively with Oskar Fischinger’s original works and Barbara Fischinger said at the event that Barlow adequately follows the path her father initially paved.
“He is going where my father would want with the work,” Fischinger said.
Aaron Jones, a graduate student in the MAT program, said he attended the symposium because he has taken several classes with Barlow as an instructor. Barlow’s use of algorithmic music first sparked Jones’ interest, and Jones said he was intrigued by the aesthetic similarities between work discussed in Barlow’s class and what was shown at the symposium.
The MAT program’s next event, “Sound Storm,” will take place on Nov. 20 in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall and will feature guest artist Richard Devine, an Atlanta-based electronic musician.
PHOTO BY ELLIOTT WRIGHT / DAILY NEXUS
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of November 18, 2013’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.