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Which clippings match 'Len Lye' keyword pg.1 of 2
07 DECEMBER 2013

A history of colour organs and visual music

"'The early history of this art was driven by an interest in color. In the eighteenth century, a Jesuit priest, Louis Bertrand Castel, invented the first color organ. Others, including D.D. Jameson, Bainbridge Bishop, and A. Wallace Rimington, created color organs through the next century [2]."

(Maura McDonnell, 2002)

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1730 • 1742 • 18th century • Alexander Scriabin • Alexander Wallace Rimington • amplitudeanalogue correspondence • Arnaldo Ginna • Audiovisual Environment Suite (AVES) • Bainbridge Bishop • Bruno Corra • clavecin oculaire • Clavilux • colourcolour and music • colour and sound • colour light • colour music • colour organ • colour tone • coloured light • coloured notes • compositioncorrelative analogue • D.D. Jameson • experimental instrument • experimental musical instrumentFernand Leger • Fred Callopy • Georg Telemann • GesamtkunstwerkGolan LevinHans Richter • harpsichord • Harry SmithhueinventionJames WhitneyJohn Whitneykeyboard • Lejf Marcussen • Len Lye • Leopold Survage • light organ • Louis Bertrand Castel • Luigi RussoloMan RayMarcel Duchamp • Mary Ellen Bute • Maura McDonnell • music historymusical instrumentNorman McLaren • Ocular Harpsichord • organOskar Fischinger • Paul Friedlander • piano style keyboard • pitch to hue • projected light • Prometheus (mythology) • rhythmiclight • Roy De Maistre • soundStan Brakhagesynaesthesia • synesthesia • Thomas Wilfred • timbre • tone colour • Viking Eggelingvisual music • Wallace Rimington • Walter Ruttmann • Wurlitzer

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JULY 2011

Com­pos­ing motion: Len Lye's kinetic sculptures

"The poten­tial to be moved by move­ment was Lye's motive force – he con­ceived his sculp­tures as per­formers rather than objects. Hor­rocks sug­gests Lye might have reframed Descartes' dictum by declar­ing 'I move, there­fore I am', and para­phrased Archibald MacLeish's 'A poem should not mean / But be' with 'A film should not mean / But move'.

How much atten­tion do design­ers give to 'com­pos­ing motion' through the way their cre­ations move and /or the way people are made to move, and be moved, as they inter­act with them? Lye's prose included at least two explor­a­tions of bod­ily feel­ings and phys­ical sen­sa­tions around chairs."

(Michael Smythe, 22 March 2010, Prodesign)

Fig.1 A clip from Flip and Two Twisters a documentary about Len Lye the New Zealand born kinetic artist and filmmaker. Directed by Shirley Horrocks.

Fig.2 The kin­etic sculp­ture Uni­verse. The striker ball is sus­pen­ded above the steel loop, which has just rolled over to one side. Photo Brian East­wood. Cour­tesy Len Lye Foundation.

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Aotearoa New Zealand • Archibald MacLeish • bod­ily feel­ings • com­pos­ing motion • design formalism • design­er • kinetic artkinetic forcekinetic sculptorkinetic sculptureLen Lye • motive force • move­ment • movementNew Zealand artistobjects • per­formers • phys­ical sen­sa­tions • physicsRene Descartes • Roger Hor­rocks • sculpture • Shirley Horrocks • sound sculpturetension

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2011

Len Lye: an innovative explorer of cameraless filmmaking

"Cameraless film refers to a method of producing moving image where the artist or filmmaker bypasses the photographic process and directly manipulates film stock (either additively or subtractively) with methods such as drawing, collage and painting. Due to the inherent difficulties of generating handmade images on film, direct animation doesn't lend itself to pictorial illusion or linear narratives. The imagery tends to be atavistic, animistic, frenetic; and due in part to this visual proximity to pure abstraction, the conceptual content of this genre has been largely overlooked. Since they sit so ambivalently between fine art and cinema, both camps have historically positioned these films as being principally concerned with formalism and material experimentation. But revising this apprehension, Zelluloid: Filme Ohne Kamera brings together a selection of films, tracing the ideational threads which significantly inform and influence this manner of filmmaking.

In 1935, Len Lye's film A Colour Box was so different in its use of filmic language that the Brussels Film Festival had to invent a new prize for it to win. As vivid and enchanting today as they were visionary and challenging, Lye's animated shapes dancing to the percussion of popular Cuban and African music were a hit with audiences more accustomed to viewing cinema in its industrial, commercial capacity. The very act of painting abstract imagery on film was a conceptual leap in terms of severing film's indexical relationship with the world and using it to explore an abstract, synaesthetic experience."

(Genevieve Allison, 5 August 2010, EyeContact)

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1935 • A Colour Box • abstraction • Aldo Tambellini • Amy GranatanimationAotearoa New Zealandart • Barbel Neubauer • Belgium • Brussels Film Festival • cameraless film • Cecile Fontaine • cinematic languagecolourcraftcreative practicedesign formalismDieter Rothdirect animationdirect filmdirect manipulationdrawing • Emmanuel Lefrant • experienceexperimental filmfilm making • film stock • filmmakerfine arthandmadeHarry Smith • Hy Hirsh • Ian Helliwell • imageryJennifer ReevesJennifer West • Jose Antonio Sistiaga • kiwi short filmsLen Lye • Luis Recoder • Marcelle Thirache • material experimentationmaterial practicematerialist cinemamethodmoving imageNew Zealand cultureNorman McLarenpaintingpattern • Pierre Rovere • pioneerpure abstraction • Schmelzdahin • scratch filmsequence designStan Brakhagesynaesthesia • Takahiko Iimura • Tony Conradvisual artsvisual culturevisual languagevisual spectacle

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2009

Expanding the narrow definitions of documentary animation

"The term 'animated documentary' can still upset a truth–seeking purist. But over the last few years our understanding of what a documentary is has expanded from the narrow direct cinema/cinema vérité definition of the 1970s and the 1980s. A more inclusive definition with room for both classic documentaries like the European city symphonies of the 1920s and the personal film essays of the 1990s and the 2000s is now gaining support.

There was a close connection between animation and documentary filmmaking in Europe in the 1920s (Walter Ruttman, Hans Richter, Dziga Vertov) and in the UK in the 1930s (John Grierson, Len Lye, Norman McLaren). This close connection continued at the National Film Board of Canada after World War II and through to this day. Even Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences accepted the animated documentary as documentary proper by giving the Oscar to McLaren (Neighbours, 1952) and Saul Bass (Why Man Creates, 1968). The direct cinema/cinema vérité movements and the total dominance of TV documentaries closely based on journalism have dominated the documentary tradition since the 1960s. But postmodernist thinking combined with more individual/personal artistic filmmaking have brought the artistic elements of the European documentaries of the 1920s and 1930s back. And this scene has also opened up for the modern animated documentary.

At the NFB the filmmakers never stopped making animated documentaries, and a similar tradition has been kept alive in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I believe a major reason for this is the social democratic political thinking that lies behind both the ideology of the NFB and the film politics in Scandinavia. The film industry deserves state funding because the films play a vital role in our democracy."

(Gunnar Strøm, March 2005, 'How Swede It Is ...and Danish and Norwegian: Scandinavian documentary animation', p.13, fpsmagazine.com)

Fig.1 Monika Forsberg & Susie Sparrow 2006, We Believe in Happy Endings

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 OCTOBER 2008

Len Lye: Swinging the Lambeth Walk

"Swinging the Lambeth Walk (1939), a four–minute, hand–painted Dufaycolor film 'with a colour accompaniment by Len Lye', matches visual motifs to musical instruments: diagonals introduce piano phrases, circles express drum beats, wavy horizontals represent guitars licks, vertical lines map base parts, etc. Primary red, blue and deep green colour fields are rendered frameless by upwardly cascading kite shapes, luminous tapered stripes, and batik–like patterns."

(Brett Kashmere, May 2007)

[Distributors: Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, Aotearoa New Zealand]

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1939animationAotearoa New Zealandcolourcolour and musicdirect filmdrawingdrawing on film • Dufaycolor • experimental filmfilmkiwi short filmsLen LyeNew Zealand filmmakerNZpaintscratch filmscratchingsound and image • Swinging the Lambeth Walk • UKvisual pattern

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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