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Visualization of Music: Synaesthesia and Schonbergian Genealogy in Visual Art

Gyung Eun Oh 1

1원광대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The paper illustrates the influence of musical analogy on abstract art and the significance of synaesthesia in modern to contemporary art by charting the history of visual music. One of the forerunners to visualize the aesthetic purity of music was Wassily Kandinsky, who shared a common interest and understanding of synaesthesia with the composer Arnold Schonberg in the early 20th century. In the process of achieving a pictorial form of music, Kandinsky produced the first abstract painting in the history. Schonberg introduced a visual aid for his music to couple the two different genres of art. Their groundbreaking methods of creativity led to the birth of visual music. In the following generation, a number of Schonberg’s disciples intensified the experiment of visualizing auditory stimulation with the help of technology and the newly found medium of film on the soil of 1930’s Hollywood film industry. The Schonbergian geneaology of pursuing synaesthetic art with technological advances continues into the later part of the 20th century, which led to the discovery of video art. The history of visual music based on synaesthesia is significant in that it offers an alternative to the formalist trajectory of abstract art, which interprets it as a result of infinite reduction for medium specificity, and in turn it reveals the connection between early abstraction and new media art.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.