CVM DVD release




Visual Music from the CVM Archive, 1947-1986
Belson, Bute, Dockum, Engel, Spinello


chakra polkadockummandala


images from Belson's Chakra, Bute's Polka Graph, Dockum Mobilcolor film and Belson's Mandala


Thirteen rare films featuring pre-computer abstraction, using a variety of techniques including early oscilloscope experiments, color organs, hand-drawn sound, animation drawn directly on film, painted scrolls, and optical printing. Many preserved films and new HD transfers. Films from the archive of Center for Visual Music. "We need a new kinetic, visual art form - one that unites sound, color and form." - Mary Ellen Bute, 1936.

CONTENTS + links to trailers

Mary Ellen Bute: Polka Graph (1947), Color Rhapsodie (1948) and Abstronic (1952)

Jordan Belson: Mandala (1953), Meditation (1971) and Chakra (1972)

Charles Dockum: Mobilcolor Performance at the Guggenheim (1952), Demonstration of Mobilcolor Projector (documentary, 1966) and Mobilcolor Performance Film (1969)

Barry Spinello, Sonata for Pen, Brush and Ruler (1968)

Jules Engel: Landscape (1971), Mobiles (1978) and Play-Pen (1986)


play color

images from Engel's Play-Pen, Bute's Color Rhapsodie

From Bute’s ‘seeing sound’ to Belson’s nonobjective language, Dockum’s color organ imagery, the graphic choreography of Engel’s animation, and Barry Spinello’s hand-drawn sound and images, we present a selection of Visual Music from the CVM archive.

Bute's Polka Graph uses Schillinger's musical notation to generate the visual complement to the soundtrack, while Abstronic uses images produced from sound using an oscilloscope.  Mandala is one of Belson’s first films to use mandala imagery, filmed from his painted scrolls, while according to Belson, Meditation is “a poetic, abstracted account of the meditational experience.”  The Mobilcolor films document Dockum's instruments for composing and performing light as symphonies, and Spinello and Engel's films explore styles of hand drawn animation.

Contains many restored films and new HD transfers. Meditation, Chakra, and the Dockum and Engel films were restored by CVM. Engel films restored in association with NOMI Group.


DVD REVIEW at PopMatters: "Beauty in the Abstract - Visual Music 1947-1986"


NTSC, Region-free, TRT 78:30
Films are 4x3 with pillarboxing (side mattes), for 16x9 display. No windowboxing.
ISBN 978-0-9764320-0-5
Produced by and (c) Center for Visual Music, 2017




FILM NOTES (in progress)



More about Jordan Belson

More about Mary Ellen Bute

dockum More about Charles Dockum




Ordering Information

Private home use, $30 (California residents please add 8.75% tax)
Institutions/Libraries, $200

Please purchase from our Squarespace shop.

Also available in JAPAN through Meditations, Kyoto. In PARIS through Re:Voir. In NZ, at the shop of the Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth.

By ordering from this site, you agree not to exhibit the DVD publicity or distribute or place the films online.


Institutional sales (universities, schools, libraries). Email us to order directly, cvmaccess (at)

Institutional rates listed do not include public performance rights, only classroom and library use are permitted. Museum exhibitions do NOT fall under these categories; usage in museum or gallery exhibitions is not permitted for any of the dvds sold by CVM. Inquire to cvmaccess (at)



For additional information or to order via credit card directly, please contact us at cvmaccess (at) gmail(dot)com

Center for Visual Music
PO Box 39527
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Thanks to Greta Dockum, Barbara Fischinger, Cathy Heinrich, Wiliam Moritz, Barry Spinello, Cecile Starr, Chris Harvey, and the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Many of the films are available for public screenings on 16mm or as digital files



Visit our online store for more visual music and experimental animation DVDs, including the Jordan Belson 5 Films DVD, and Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films.

Membership - Become a Member of CVM and help support our work preserving and promoting Visual Music. Vintage premiums include Fischinger, Whitney, Moritz posters, ephemera and other items.



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