here is my proposal draft. all feedbacks are more than welcome!

Subject Area

Audio visualization is a feature found in applications, media player softwares and electronic music visualizers for a long time (the first music visualizer Atari Video Music was introduced in 1976). Standard audio visualizers mostly generate animated images in real time, using audio as the input and the reference for synchronization. Besides these softwares and visualizers, audio-visuals play an important role in today’s contemporary live music performances. Not only used as decorations or lighting systems, live visuals are considered as artworks on their own.

Video is a very powerful medium for art and communicating. With the integration of interactivity, screen-based form of art and design allows both the artist and the participator to push the limits. As the merging technology introduced interactivity into contemporary art and design thoroughly, video gained strength as a medium that includes transformative and flexible characteristics. “The visible form of an image can arise from different machines in the electronic setting: from cameras, from monitor and screens, and in various effects devices such as synthesizers, keyers, and analogue computers. Video processing means that real-time visual effects can be directly presented within an external monitor or can arise in the integrated screen of a processor that shows the scanning of the video signals in horizontal lines.” (Spielmann, 2006, 4)

Interactive audio visualizing is the specific field that I want to work on. Processing moving images using audio as input have multiple possibilities for the output. Those creative and liberating possibilities make interactive audio-visual a very exciting field both for the designer and the viewer. Nicolas Schöffer; considered as the pioneer of cybernetic art, describes the importance of this wideness of possibilities in his article: “Why is television so fascinating, if not because the translucent rectangle is a source of continually renewed images? Each time we turn it on, we know we will see something new once again. For the first time, a machine delivering non-redundancy has been socialized on a global scale.” (Schöffer, 1985, 59) Representing the audio with visual experimentations is the basic motivation, but making it interactive and creating a system that generates different possibilities for different experiences is the challenge of my chosen field. The starting point, my research question is; “Is it possible to create a visual language that takes its shape from its interaction with the audio, and work without the need of the artist’s touch in real-time?”

Aims of the Project

My proposed work will provide an interactive video performance that is connected to the parameters of the playing audio or the sound of the environment (live). I’ve worked on an interactive visual generator named GigPoster for my BA graduation project. Briefly, it was an interactive installation that generates concert posters according to the parameters of the user’s voice. User sings, murmurs, whistles for 30 seconds and the visual elements of the poster of his/her 30 seconds concert poster (background colour, fonts, images, patterns) change as several sound parameters (decibel of the voice, treble/bass levels, attacks of the voice) of the user change. I would like to have my major project to keep going on this path, interactive moving image.

This research and production period will focus on the experimental video, motion graphics and the relationship of visual with the audio. Technical development is essential for the interaction, but my main motivation for the project is to discover new ways of expression in video. In his article Live Music and Moving Images, Reynold Weidenaar’s statements clarify the main motivation of my audio-visual performance. “Many composers who begin to produce images start by filming or taping visual music. This usually turns out to be some kind of musical waveform or vibration mode display: Lissajous figures, Chladni figures, laser displays, and the like. These musical mandalas and kaleidoscopes provide a good learning ground, since they are inexpensive and easy to produce. However, such electronic etch-a- sketch visuals tire quickly unless handled with great creativity and skill. They are very decorative and hypnotic, but often lack the depth of meaning, complex references, and richness of possibilities of art.” (Weidenaar, 1986, 273)

Plan of Work

Since my project will need lots of softwares and programming skills, I’ll start with a research of those technologies and which will be required to be brought together in order to support my interactive audio-visual work. I will also look for a collaboration with a Sound Art or Interactive Media colleague. Working together with a colleague who has academic knowledge of sound acoustics would also be useful. I see collaboration as a crucial attitude at this higher level of education, as it would help me save time for the moving image, and also for developing myself technically through collaborating. If a collaboration can not be achieved, I will work on the technical background of the project (I’ll probably use Max/MSP for the real-time video generating, as I have an experience of the software from my previous interactive project) by myself and also look for related workshops.

The second step of my work plan is to make a theoretical research about audience perceptions and the experience of “seeing sound”. As the final is planned to be a live show, this research will constitute the conceptual background of the project. After the researches are done, I’ll begin the video producing. Making various experiments and look for new ways of representation, new visual languages. “The image is flattened, the perspective is curved or collapsed, the objects are most selectively portrayed by lightning and framing, the color saturation and hue are altered-the artful distortions of
reality abound and we are hypnotized and seduced and exhilarated by them. We see a scene we’d never look twice at in real life, and are captivated by the image’s capturing and molding of individual elements, its ways of displaying and highlighting that just aren’t seen in real life.” (Weidenaar, 1986, 272) Once the overall visual concept is decided, the artwork on the screen will not be limited to certain limits but will include several disciplines like raw footage, motion graphics, typography, illustration etc. that is related with the general concept.

After all the design and technical problems are solved, I’ll focus on audio. It can be a track, a live performance, sound of the environment, or live recordings. I will decide the particular way during my experimenting process.

Scope of the Project

Boundaries are not bulky and stable in this project but some certain limits are almost apparent. The major project won’t be defined as a sonic arts project, as the output will not be something auditory. It will probably include the decomposing of music track/human voice/ambient sounds, but there will not be so much to do with musical notations. Besides that, musical acoustic is crucial, as it is directly related with the physics of speech and music.

It does not have a goal like being a professional designer/artist/musician tool to generate audio visual but creating a system that can work without the artist interaction (can be considered as a system that makes vjing during a live show, without a vj just using the particular audio as input) is one of the major motivations. Also, it’s not going to be a audio visualizing software like the ones used in the media players, it will be more like the usage of the video as a jigsaw puzzle and experiments for new ways of representation.

Conceptual Motivation

Yet to be decided after the research period. The theoretical subject area which it will be based on will get clear after a more specific researching and reading process. This will also support my research question which is basically my starting point to the project.


Video art, Interactive Art, Live Music Performance, Audio-Visual, VJing, Real-Time Image Processing, Moving Image


Yvonne Spielmann, “Video: From Technology to Medium”, Art Journal, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Fall, 2006), pp. 54-69

Nicolas Schöffer, “Sonic and Visual Structures: Theory and Experiment”, Leonardo, Vol. 18, (1985), pp. 59-68

Reynold Weidenaar, “Live Music and Moving Images: Composing and Producing the Concert Video”, Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 24 (Spring-Summer, 1986), pp. 270-279