December 2009 Newsletter: Visual Music News from CVM

1. DVDs/CVM Store - Start your Holiday Shopping Here!
3. RESEARCH - New publications, new CVM resources
5. JOIN CVM - Membership, Member News

Dear friends of Center for Visual Music (CVM),

We first want to thank all our Members and Donors for their continued support of CVM throughout these tough economic times. It's been a busy year, with screenings and events in Los Angeles, New York, London, Germany (Osnabruck and Frankfurt), Berkeley, CA and Pittsburgh, PA; plus films from our collection featured in museum exhibitions in New York, Miami, Linz and Karlsruhe, Germany. There's three more CVM screenings this year, in New York and LA on December 3, 4 and 18 - see section 2 below.

CVM has received some major donations of materials this year, most notably the papers of Oskar Fischinger, and we now have the largest collection of Visual Music materials in the world. In 2010 we'll begin online exhibitions of selected materials. See Section 4 for more details.

We're skipping our regular preservation section this issue, but our current preservation projects continue for films by Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson and Charles Dockum, and we've just completed work on the Fischinger 1920s-30s early experiments and home movies.

If you're still not yet a Member, we hope you'll take a moment now to join us - see section 5 below for more benefits information. We can only continue our work with our Members' and Donors' support.

Finally, we hope you'll visit our online store for some of your holiday shopping.

We wish you all a happy holiday season,

Cindy Keefer, Director


Christmas Card designed by Oskar Fischinger, 1950s. (c) Fischinger Trust, all rights reserved.


1. DVDs/CVM Store - Easy Holiday Shopping! Visual Music for All Ages

New DVDs at the CVM Store:

--2 DVD Set: Walther Ruttmann (2009). The complete surviving works of Walther Ruttmann! With a new 11 minute version of Opus 1 from Filmmuseum Munich. Special features also include lobby cards, posters, programs and text documents as well as little known paintings and drawings by Ruttmann. (PAL import, Edition Filmmuseum)

--Zeitgenossen: German Animation Collection (2009) - contemporary work. PAL import.

--Aurora 1 Collection: compilation of contemporary animation, includes work by Bret Battey and Thorsten Fleisch (Energie!). With 16 pg book. PAL import.

Visit the CVM store for visual music and experimental film DVDs, including those of Fischinger, Belson, Wilfred, Light Shows and Contemporary Artists. Coming soon, Collectible and Vintage Art Books and Catalogs, and Digital Prints. Image from Samadhi, (c) Jordan Belson, from the Jordan Belson: 5 Essential Films DVD.



Three more screenings this year:

New York - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - December 4 and 18: Non-Objective Films, 1920s-1950s: A program of artists supported by Hilla Rebay, Organized by the Center for Visual Music. An accompanying event to the current KANDINSKY exhibition. 35mm/16mm. Includes films by Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson, Norman McLaren, Hans Richter, Harry Smith, Mary Ellen Bute and more. Guggenheim Calendar here.

Los Angeles - December 3, at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture). Immersive & Expanded Cinema of Visual Music. Co-presented with SCI-Arc's MediaSCAPES Lectures program. Features Keefer's illustrated presentation "Raumlichtkunst to Vortex: Early Expanded Cinema Experiments of Oskar Fischinger and Jordan Belson," and a screening of contemporary work from CVM's archives, of artists influenced by Fischinger and Belson. 7 pm, free admission. W.M. Keck Lecture Hall, SCI-Arc, 960 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Images from Spirals by Oskar Fischinger and _grau by Robert Seidel.

See CVM's Screenings and Events page for up to date information on current and future screenings.


RECENT CVM screenings, since our last newsletter:

NOVEMBER 8, Los Angeles: LIGHT MATTERS: JOOST REKVELD RETROSPECTIVE, Co-presented with UCLA Film & TV Archive at the Billy Wilder Theatre, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Image from #11 Marey <-> Moiré (1999) courtesy Joost Rekveld

NOVEMBER 3, Los Angeles: Lichtspiel: Contemporary Abstract Animation and Visual Music, at REDCAT Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. A sold out show! Featured artists included Joost Rekveld, Spot Draves, Robert Seidel, Richard "Doc" Baily, Steven Woloshen, Baerbel Neubauer, Thorsten Fleisch, Bret Battey, Michael Scroggins, Samantha Krukowski, Mondi, Devon Damonte, Scott Nyerges, Vivek Patel and Yusuke Nakajima. Curated by Cindy Keefer/CVM, co-presented with REDCAT. Images from #37 by Joost Rekveld and The Firebird by spot Draves.

October - November: Our ongoing series at The Guggenheim Museum, New York (see Dec 4 and 18 above).


OCTOBER 1, Linz, Austria: Illustrated presentation by Cindy Keefer, Raumlichtkunst to Vortex: Early Expanded Cinema Experiments of Oskar Fischinger and Jordan Belson (1926-1959). With films. A special event relating to the See this Sound exhibition at Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria. (Image from Moritz's 3-panel recreation of R1 ein Formspiel)

OCTOBER 3, Frankfurt, Germany: Mary Ellen Bute Retrospective, at Deutsches Filmmuseum. Presented in association with Cecile Starr and the Women's Independent Film Exchange. Image from Bute's Color Rhapsodie, 1948

SEPTEMBER 1 at Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA. Essential Visual Music: Rare Classics. Images from Turn, Turn, Turn by Jud Yalkut and Dockum 1952 Mobilcolor Performance at The Guggenheim.


3. RESEARCH - New Publications and New Resources at CVM

a. New publications of interest

KANDINSKY, by Vivian Endicott Barnett, Christian Derouet, Wassily Kandinsky and Tracey Bashkoff, Ed. Exhibition Catalog. Guggenheim Museum, October, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0892073900 If you plan to buy through amazon, please purchase through this CVM Link

"Raumlichtmusik - Early 20th Century Abstract Cinema Immersive Environments," by C. Keefer. Published in Leonardo Electronic Almanac ("...the highbrow hot spot of cyberspace..." says Wired), a new Special Section on Creative Data. A short essay from Keefer's research on Fischinger and Belson's early experiments including The Vortex concerts. (PDF)

Forthcoming January 2010: Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular. Andrew Perchuk and Rani Singh, Eds. An anthology of essays, numerous images, letters and other materials. Getty Publications, 2009. ISBN 978-0892367351. If you plan to buy through amazon, please pre-order now or purchase later through this CVM Link. If you can't wait, please visit CVM to see our advance copy. One error noted, the dates for The Vortex Concerts published here are incorrect, the dates were 1957-1959.

See this Sound: Promises in Sound and Vision. Exhibition catalog from the exhibition at Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria. Edited by Cosima Rainer et al. Koln: Walter Koenig, 2008. German and English. ISBN 978-3-86560-683-9

Harmony and Dissent. Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century, by R. Bruce Elder. : Waterloo, ON, Canada Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-55458-028-6

The Museum of Non-Objective Painting. Karole Vail, Ed., et al. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2009. Includes chapter on nonobjective films. CVM provided research and images for Fischinger and Dockum for this book. ISBN 978-0892073931. If you plan to buy through amazon, please purchase through this CVM link.

Michael Snow: Wavelength, by Elizabeth Legge. Onework series from Afterall/MIT Press. October 2009. ISBN 978-1-84638-056-3

Visit our Amazon Links page for a wide variety of visual music-related books and DVDs available through Amazon (please follow our links, to benefit CVM):

Please note: We cannot recommend publications we've received which contain numerous factual errors, or instances of plagiarism.

b. New Research Materials at CVM


Fischinger Papers: Through a generous gift from The Fischinger Trust, CVM has received the original papers of Oskar Fischinger, dating c. 1918 - 1967; plus a number of artworks by Oskar Fischinger including original unshot animation drawings and process materials. Another donation in progress is selected papers of Elfriede Fischinger. The Oskar Fischinger papers include his personal and business papers; his correspondence with Hilla Rebay, Fritz Lang, Hans Richter and many others; graphs and notated music scores for several of his films (example from American March); some original storyboards and animation drawings (e.g. above, sequence of unshot animation painted on nitrate cels); plans and sketches for films, inventions and unrealized projects; original texts and notes;his files relating to Art in Cinema, the Lumigraph, Ornament Sound experiments and much, much more. The Collection is currently being processed, and access is extremely limited at present.

Elfriede's papers include her original files on Fischinger films, exhibitions, and correspondence; article, clippings, notes; documentation of her travels throughout the world with the Fischinger films and William Moritz; exhibition catalogs and journals; an extensive number of original flyers and materials relating to Theatre Vanguard, Coronet, Oasis, Visual Music Alliance and other Southern California exhibition venues; and much, much more. The collection represents her participation in, and thus a history of, the Southern California experimental film community, c. 1936-1998. The Collection is currently being processed, and access is extremely limited at present, pending funding for conservation and access.

With these donations, plus our William Moritz Archive, Belson Collection, and previous donations from The Fischinger Trust, plus an extensive body of preserved film, CVM has the largest collection of Visual Music-related materials in the world. At our Collections and Archives pages online, in the Special Collections section, you can find more information about our collections:

c. NEW section at CVM website - Member's Announcements & Research Postings. A new section where Members announce their new projects, publications, conferences and research.

Many more Visual Music resources are at CVM's Online Library

Special Research Pages maintained by CVM:

-Charles Dockum (under construction)

-and The William Moritz Memorial Site (dozens of his articles are at our Online Library)



For recent donations of artwork and/or research materials, we thank The Fischinger Trust, Barbara Fischinger, Dian C. Iversen, Spot Draves, Kathy Elder and Joost Rekveld. For recent financial contributions we thank Sheila Baily, Susan Bolles and Michael Friend.

Please consider making a donation to CVM to help support our work. Contributions for specific projects are welcome, such as the continued conservation of Oskar Fischinger materials and films, and The William Moritz Archive; our Film Preservation projects, digitization of materials, and our upcoming DVD releases including Belson (#2), Fischinger (#2), Baily and more. Donations can be made via phone, mail, or online (use the Make a Donation button at

You can also give a gift to CVM of needed office equipment or supplies, from our Amazon wish list

CVM seeks other donations: various Hardware and Software (contact us), PC and Mac monitors, DVCam deck or camera; 3/4 inch Umatic video decks; video projector. CVM is a 501(c) 3 public non-profit charity, donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.


5. JOIN CVM - Membership and Member News

a. If you're seriously interested in the research, production, curating, scholarship and/or promotion of Visual Music, we invite you to join us. We welcome our new members in Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, the UK, and Netherlands.

You can collect vintage Fischinger, Moritz, James Whitney and Visual Music material, and help preserve and promote Visual Music at the same time. All members can participate in our online discussion group to receive current news and special offers, discuss and publicize their own work, projects and events, and use the new Members' Announcements section of our website. Special offers to purchase DVDs, periodicals, research materials and more are available to Members only, plus expedited processing of research requests.

November marked the first Members party in Los Angeles, with more events to come in other cities. Another new Member's Benefit has begun, viewings of rarely seen Oskar Fischinger paintings in Los Angeles with Barbara Fischinger, Oskar's daughter. This is a special benefit for Members at the Friend and higher levels, by appointment, in small groups.

Our supporters and Members help make possible the success of our programs, exhibitions, preservation projects, and Library. Please take a moment to help preserve and promote Visual Music by becoming a member today. Photos of premiums and more info here.


--Spot Draves will be showing at Art Basel, Miami, Dec. 3 - 6. His "Dreams in High Fidelity I and II" and one digital print are in a show featuring New York artists hosted by Ad Hoc Art, AE District, and Eastern District. At the Moore Building/Miami Design District - 4040 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 103.

--Bret Battey's installation of "cMatrix12" premiered Nov. 19 in The Cube, a multimedia installation space in the new "Phoenix Square" digital media and cinema centre, Leicester, UK. This installation is a 3-screen wide, HD, quadraphonic version of his 2004 piece "cMatrix10". Through December 18.

--Joost Rekveld has had screenings of his new Cinemascope film #37 in Amsterdam, Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison and in Los Angeles (in CVM's Lichtspiel show Nov. 3).

--Grant Davis received a one month artist in residence grant, with studio and gallery space, at the Sao Paulo House of Art in Brazil. --In October, Tony Martin premiered his new work "Light Pendulum" at a performance at St. Marks Church, NY. Light Pendulum is controlled by site-specific environmental conditions including light, sound, and motion. More about the installation:

--Steve Woloshen's new film "Playtime" premiered in November at the Ontario Cinematheque, Toronto as part of a commissioned project. The Toronto Animated Image Society and Christopher Cutts gallery commissioned eleven independent Canadian animators to make films inspired by the works of the Painters Eleven. --"Dreaming with Open Eyes," a program of German work curated by Robert Seidel, screened continuously throughout November at COMO (SKT-Tower, Seoul) and Open Theatre (Tomorrow City Echo Plaza)

--A new article by David James, "LA's Hipster Cinema," was published in Film Quarterly. Online at

Please also visit our new Members' Announcements & Research section



Center for Visual Music is a nonprofit archive dedicated to visual music, experimental animation and abstract cinema. CVM is committed to preservation, curation, education, research and dissemination of the film, performances and other media of this tradition, together with related historical documentation and artwork. Our library is open to scholars and researchers by appointment, and our curated film programs, presentations and films are presented at cultural institutions worldwide. Our Collections contain extensive resources on Visual Music, including a body of preserved film by the most significant historical artists (Fischinger, Belson, Whitneys, Dockum, Engel, others); the papers of Oskar and Elfriede Fischinger; resources on early color organ experiments; the original research collection and archive of Visual Music scholar William Moritz; resources on 60s Light shows, and Contemporary work in Visual Music. Visit our Collections and Archives pages online for much more information.

CVM thanks its Founders' Circle Members for their generous contributions to our programs: Richard Baily/Image Savant, Stephen Beck, Susan Bolles, Barbara Fischinger, Lawrence Janss, Ed and Laura Lantz, Eva Mason and Michael Norman Nock. We hope to expand this Circle soon with new donors at significant levels. MANY THANKS to all of you who support and participate in CVM.

Best regards,
Cindy Keefer, Director
Center for Visual Music, 453 S. Spring Street, Suite 834, Los Angeles, CA 90013
CVMaccess (at)
The archives of this newsletter since 2003 are available online through the Google Groups site.

Please also visit CVM's Facebook page and our Visual Music group on Facebook