8 April 2016 - EMPAC
On Screen/Sound No. 14

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On Screen Sound: No.14 brings together innovative intersections of animation and sound, both historical and modern. The pioneering work of Mary Ellen Bute and Oskar Fischinger from the first half of the 20th century is vibrant and intricate, with color and sound dancing across the screen. Meanwhile, Sirens, by Novi_sad and Ryoichi Kurokawa, pushes animation and sound into the 21st century with the impossible detail only available in computer animation.

Influential German animator Oskar Fischinger’s abstract films combine image and sound into tightly choreographed works of motion. Advancing the technical boundaries of animation, his work was featured by Disney and spawned numerous well-know progeny as well as unsuccessful imitators. 

Mary Ellen Bute is one of America’s first female experimental filmmakers and a pioneer of animation. Specializing in “visual music,” Bute’s short films are literal representations of abstract music. Often shown in theaters prior to feature-length films, Bute’s work was widely viewed during her life.

Sirens, a collaboration between Ryoichi Kurokawa (visuals) and Novi_sad (music), uses data processing to create pulsing, impossibly detailed images and sounds that deconstruct commonplace images into their most basic forms.

Co-curated with Victoria Brooks


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

Abstronic (1952)
Mary Ellen Bute / Music: Aaron Copland’s Hoe Down and Don Gillis’ Ranch House Party

Sirens (2012)
Ryoichi Kurokawa / Music: Novi_sad