Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'John Whitney' keyword pg.1 of 1
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)



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


Simon Perkins
24 JANUARY 2010

John Whitney: Motion Graphics Pioneer

"John Whitney, Sr. was one of the earliest and most influential of the computer animation pioneers. He came at the problem from the background of film, working with his brother James Whitney on a series of experimental films in the 1940s and 1950s. His work in this area gave him the opportunity to collaborate with well known Hollywood filmmakers, including Saul Bass.

His earliest computer work used analog devices for controlling images and cameras. After the second world war, Whitney purchased surplus military equipment and modified it to be used in his art making. One such device was an analog mechanism used in military anti–aircraft controllers, the M–5 (and later the M–7). Whitney and his brother converted this device of war into an animation controller, and used it together with a mounted camera as an animation stand. ...

After establishing his company Motion Graphics, Inc in 1960, he used his analog devices for the opening to the Hitchcock movie Vertigo in 1961. His company was focused on producing titles for film and television, and was also used in graphics for commercials. But Whitney was far more interested in the use of the technology as an art form, and began a series of collaborations in art making that has lasted for years. Many of these early collaborations revolved around the advancement of the vector graphics device as a viable tool for making art. Whitney received funding from IBM to take a look at the use of IBM equipment in the design of motion. He worked with IBM programmers in the development of a language for extending the computer to the control of graphics devices. This resulted in one of his most famous animations, Permutations in 1968."

(Wayne Carlson)




19581968abstract graphic animationAlfred Hitchcockanalogue computeranimation • animation controller • Bernard Herrmanncompositioncomputer animationcustom typeface • digital harmony • IBMinnovatorJames WhitneyJohn Whitney • M-5 • M-7 • mechanical computermotion graphics • Motion Graphics Incorporated • Permutations • pioneerpioneering animatorSan FranciscoSaul Basstitle sequence • UPA studios • Vertigo (1958)visualisation


Simon Perkins
03 JUNE 2009

John Whitney's Matrix III (1972)

"As visualists, the sad truth is we have a poorer sense of the history of our medium than musicians. Part of this is simply a lack of access. YouTube is a weak substitute, but it's a start. In that spirit, Karl (Format K) sends us the minimal geometric machinations of pioneering electronic graphics artist and animator John Whitney. We've previous mentioned the role of Whitney and Larry Cuba in helping the modern computer graphics industry to be born – with a little help from a movie called Star Wars. Here, you get a real sense of an artist working within the restrictions of the technology to produce something beautiful. It's a chance to recognize how we're indebted to this kind of work. While the temptation may be to replicate effects like this with more modern tools, they also illustrate how you can focus on a technique within a tool – and perhaps there's a digital equivalent of focusing on artistic limitations.

The musical score turns this into a dream collaboration, with the work of Terry Riley.

It's nice to have access to this, but boy, would I love to have an HD–quality rendition of many of these films available for download or on a high–quality medium like Blu–Ray. Any chance a modern–day Voyager would re–release seminal visualist work from decades past?"
(Peter Kirn)



1972animationcomputer graphicscreative practicediscovery • electronic graphics • experimentation • Format K • geometryJohn Whitney • Larry Cuba • Matrix III (1972) • minimalismmotion graphicsmusical scorenarrativepioneeringpraxisretrospectacleStar Wars • Terry Riley • visual designvisualisation • visualist • YouTube


David Gowans
11 JUNE 2004

Kinetic Optics: Music Through Kinetic Abstract Animation

"This project is a series of new audio instruments and automatons that explore unique methods of user interface and audio synthesis. The series will be rendered with Java, Processing, Jsyn (Java synthesis libraries), and OpenGL. ...A goal of this project is to provide a series of instruments of distinct expressive audio range, through an interface of kinetic abstract animation. This series will operate in multiples, and incorporate MIDI to interact with professional, commercial audio systems. Precedents: Golan Levin, Audio Visual Environment Suite John Whitney Oscar Fischinger Moog Music and Buchula Systems: early modular synthesis Luigi Russolo and the Futurists Oscar Sala (Trautonium & Mixturtrautonium) Leon Theremin Harry Partch (Quadrangularis Reversurn Marimba, Cloud–Chamber Bowls & Gourd Tree)"
(Steve Baker)



Audio Visual Environment Suite • Baker • Buchula Systems • Cloud-Chamber Bowls • Fischinger • Futurism (art movement)Golan Levin • Gourd Tree • Harry Partch • JavaJohn Whitney • Jsyn • Kinetic Optics • Leon Theremin • Luigi RussolomarimbaMIDI • Mixturtrautonium • modular synthesis • MoogOpenGLOskar Fischinger • Oskar Sala • Partch • Quadrangularis Reversurn • Russolo • Sala • Theremin • Trautonium

to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.