by Mary Ellen Bute - Animated with Dada humor to a waltz tune. Witty and delightful, it flashes off the screen too soon.

In 1931, Universal had run one of Oskar Fischinger's Studies as a novelty item in their newsreel. Mary Ellen had seen it, and proposed to Universal that they use one of her films in a similar fashion. Since they could use only two or three minutes, Mary Ellen made a special piece, Dada, which Universal distributed in 1936.

(William Moritz: "Mary Ellen Bute: Seeing Sound")


Source: Animation World Network



Dada, 1st generation, Film


Optical Poetry (2004) by Dr. William Moritz is the long-awaited, definitive biography of Oskar Fischinger. The result of over 30 years of research on this visionary abstract filmmaker and painter. In addition to Moritz's comprehensive biography, it includes numerous photographs in colour and black and white (many never before published), statements by Oskar Fischinger about his films, a newly created extensive filmography, and a selected bibliography. (John Libbey Publishing)

Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900 (2005) traces the history of a revolutionary idea: that fine art should attain the abstract purity of music. Over the past one hundred years some of the most adventurous modern and contemporary artists have explored unorthodox means to invent a kinetic, non-representational art modeled upon pure instrumental music. (Amazon)

Sons et Lumières (2004) – A History of Sound in the Art of the 20th Century (in French) by Marcella Lista and Sophie Duplaix published by the Centre Pompidou for the excellent Paris exhibition in September 2004 until January 2005.

Curated by the Pompidou’s Sophie Duplaix with the Louvre’s Marcella Lista, the show required a good three or four hours to absorb, with its bombardment of sensory and intellectual input, including painting, sound sculpture, sound/light automata, film and video, and room-size installations. (Frieze Magazine)



Opus I (1921) - Music by Max Butting. Walther Ruttmann's Opus 1 is the first abstract or absolute work in film history screened publicly. Instead of containing depictions of reality, it consists entirely of the colors and shapes already formulated in Ruttmann's Painting With Light manifesto. In 1919, he writes that, after nearly a decade, he finally "masters the technical difficulties" struggled with as early as 1913 while executing his formulated idea. (Media Art Net)

© Center for Visual Music


Composition in Blue (1935) - original title: Komposition in Blau. Surfaces dominate in the abstract animated film Composition in Blue by Oskar Fischinger. Colorful geometric figures are set in rhythmic motion. The music from Otto Nicolai's The Merry Women of Windsor is impressively visualized through a blending of form and color. (William Moritz: "Oskar Fischinger", in: Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main, Optische Poesie. Oskar Fischinger Leben und Werk, Kinematograph Nr. 9, 1993, p. 42)

Len Lye: A biography (2001) by Roger Horrock tells for the first time the story of an extraordinary New Zealander, a brilliant artist with an international career who never lost the informality, the energy, the independence of spirit of his South Pacific origins. Len Lye began as an unsettled working-class kid with limited prospects and became a leading modernist artist in London and New York. Roger Horrocks's exhaustive study of Lye has taken many years and is based on interviews with many of those close to the artist as well as on voluminous documentary sources. (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery)

Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (1994) by French critic and composer Michel Chion reassesses audiovisual media since the revolutionary 1927 debut of recorded sound in cinema, shedding crucial light on the mutual relationship between sound and image in audiovisual perception. (Colombia University Press)

Viking Eggeling (1880-1925) was a Swedish artist and filmmaker. His work is of significance in the area of experimental film, and has been described as absolute film and Visual Music. (Wikipedia)