CVM provides access to Visual Music, abstract cinema and experimental
animation through a variety of activities. This page provides information
CVM provides access to Visual Music, abstract cinema and experimental animation through a variety of activities. This page provides information on:
1. Curated Film Programs available for booking
Oskar Fischinger Retrospective : Optical Poetry
Rental is subject to conditions including the screening of a complete program without re-ordering or print substitution. 35mm prints may be rented to qualified institutions that do not use a platter projection system. See bottom of page for notes on qualified institutions.* See print Rentals link above for rentals of individual 35mm prints, on certain titles.
This program cannot be provided on DVD. We do not yet have a DCP version A different version can be presented in 16mm.
Recently presented at Tate Modern, National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum, EYE Filmmuseum, LACMA, Pacific Film Archive, Lincoln Center, Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (Australia), Annecy and Stuttgart festivals, and many other venues over the past 12 years.
Jordan Belson: FIlms Sacred and Profane - please inquire re conditions for screening. 16mm and videotape. Not available as an all digital program. CVM's Belson Retrospective program includes Mandala, Bop Scotch, Seance, Allures, Samadhi, Chakra, Music of the Spheres, and other films (program varies slightly depending on formats available and type of projection at venue), includes never-released Quartet and LSD for selected venues. Original program c o-curated by Belson and CVM director Cindy Keefer. Coming in near future, a two-program Retrospective with the addition of some rarely screened material.
The program has been presented at Tate Modern, LACMA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,, Harvard Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (Australia), the European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck, Germany, International House, Philadelphia; TIFF Lightbox Toronto, and Wexner Center. An earlier verson of the program was presented at Rotterdam Film Festival and MOCA Los Angeles. Features many rare and preserved 16mm prints, plus several titles screened digitally. Not available as an all-digital prrogram. For more info see www.centerforvisualmusic.org/Belson
Seeing Sound: Mary Ellen Bute Retrospective
CVM offers a variety of compilation Visual Music programs, please contact us. Recent programs have included:
Visual Music and Early Abstract Films
This program combines classic visual music films by Oskar Fischinger, Jordan Belson, Mary Ellen Bute, Jules Engel and others with contemporary work by artists including Bret Battey, Steve Woloshen, LIA, Robert Seidel, Chris Harvey and others. Available as 16mm & digital program, or all-digital..
A series of casual evenings, presented in 2017 in Santa Rosa, CA and in 2016 in Los Angeles, London and Oxford, UK. Combining classic visual music films (Fischinger, Belson, Bute, Engel and others) with contemporary work. Some salons have involved a performance element, with live performance painting, live video painting and music. Artists and others introduce and discuss the films. Salons may combine 16mm and digital files, or be entirely digital, depending on venue.
New Restorations and Discoveries from CVM
From absolute film to psychedelia, this program of revelatory moments from the history of visual music and kinetic art explores lost, legendary and rare treasures found in the archives of Center for Visual Music (CVM). Featuring among others, 4 rare works by Jordan Belson, including the unfinished Quartet (1983), the infamous LSD (1962) and a presentation reel from the Vortex concerts (1959); three new 35mm prints of Oskar Fischinger films (Ornament Sound, Studie nr. 5, Spirals), Charles Dockum’s Mobilcolor Performance Film (1970), a color-light projection composition; two newly discovered films by John Cage and Richard Lippold, including The Sun Film (1956), about the kinetic art sculpture, Night Waves (1977) by Richard Baily and Jud Yalkut's Turn, Turn, Turn.
This program is subject to modification of a few titles.
Seeing Sound: Visual Music Films - press and full title list. A program targeted for musicians and concert audiences, with a range of historical approaches to music in visual music film. Includes films by Fischinger, Belson, McLaren, Lye, Bute, Harry Smith, VanDerBeek, Barry Spinello, and more. 16mm prints. Images from Ruttmann, Bute, Fischinger and Belson films
A program of visual music films for children (presentted at SF MOMA's Family Day; different version at Newark Museum), with abstract animation by Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, Baerbel Neubauer, Steve Woloshen, David Ehrlich and other artists. 16mm and digital.
Color and Form: California Modernist Animation and Abstractionpresented at LACMA, 2012. 16mm prints.
Lichtspiel (REDCAT Theatre, 2009). Contemporary work. NOTE: this program is not available with this playlist, but can be modified.
Seeing Sound: A program of visual music films featuring hand-drawn sound, including Fischinger's Ornament Sound, and films by Norman McLaren, Barry Spinello, Devon Damonte, Lis Rhodes, Guy Sherwin and more. 16mm and digital (not available as an all digital program).
Essential Visual Music: Rare Classics
Essential Visual Music: New Visions- 2008
Legendary Light Shows (16mm and video)
Other Programs and Lectures
Booking inquiries: Email Center for Visual Music cvmaccess(at)gmail(dot)com
For other recent Visual Music programs curated and presented by CVM, please see our Screenings page; for details regarding our work and films in the 2005 Visual Music exhibition at MOCA LA and Hirshhorn/Smithsonian, please see Visual Music films
2. Online Store
CVM's online Store offers Research Copies of films on DVD. These are for private home use or classroom use only, and most may not be exhibited publicly for a paying audience, or used in museum exhibitions or public screenings without additional permissions, fees and/or licenses. Please inquire if you wish to obtain permission for additional uses. These DVDs and books are also available for purchase via phone, or at our downtown Los Angeles offices.
3. Print loans and rentals; digital access, please visit HERE
Under certain conditions, CVM provides access to selected prints from our preservation projects, and digital copies in certain cases (such as museum exhibitions), through rentals to qualified institutions.* We do not rent to individuals.
4. On-Site Research
Viewing copies (on video, files or dvd) of many films are available for onsite study by researchers and scholars at CVM's offices. Please email or call for an appointment; visit the Researcher Guidelines page. CVM does not make or provide dubs of these research copies; please see our online Store for available titles for research purposes. In January 2015 we launched our Video on Demand channel with complete films from the archive. Brief excerpts from some films can also been seen at our regular Vimeo channel.
5. Licensing for Museum Exhibitions and Installations
Certain films (including those by Fischinger, Belson, Dockum, Bute, Engel and selected others) may be licensed under specific conditions. Please provide complete details of your exhibition including dates, file format, description of the space planned for exhibiting films or digital media (what else will be in this space? are there black or white walls? describe lighting levels, etc.); type of projection and screen, or type of monitor; plans for avoiding light and sound leaks; list of other planned films in the exhibition; list of venues and dates, licensing fees budgeted. We cannot process requests without all of the above information. Email to cvmaccess (at) gmail.com
All requests are subject to license fees. We do not at this time provide films on Blu-Ray for exhibition.
More about CVM's Collections and Archives
Please direct all inquiries to
Center for Visual Music
Via email: cvmaccess (at) gmail.com
*Qualified institutions include FIAF archives and venues capable of archival projection, and institutions which have previously rented programs from us without damage to any films. Please email for further information.
updated Apr 2018