ACMI and Center for Visual Music present
Oskar Fischinger: Raumlichtkunst
Reconstruction by Center for Visual Music
Until Sun 28 May 2023
10am – 5pm daily
Presenting a reconstruction of one of the first multimedia projections ever made: Oskar Fischinger’s Raumlichtkunst, first shown in Germany in 1926, and restored and reconstructed by the Center for Visual Music (CVM) in Los Angeles.
In 1926, abstract filmmaker Oskar Fischinger (1900–67) began performing multiple projector cinema shows in Germany with up to five 35mm film projectors, color filters and slides. Fischinger wrote of his concept of Raumlichtmusik (space-light-music), believing all the arts would merge in this new art. The critics called his performances 'Raumlichtkunst' and praised Fischinger's “original art vision which can only be expressed through film.” These shows represent some of the earliest attempts at cinematic immersive environments, and are a precursor to expanded cinema and 1960s light shows.
Under the concept name of 'Raumlichtkunst', Fischinger performed several different versions of these multiple projector shows in the late 1920s, some of which were called Fieber and Macht (Power). Our re-creation does not strive to represent any one specific performance, rather the concept and effect of Fischinger's series of shows.
Working with Fischinger's original 1920s nitrate film, Center for Visual Music restored and reconstructed the 35mm film via traditional photochemical processes, transferred to HD, digitally restored the color, and reconstructed this three-screen recreation of his c. 1926–27 performances. The three-screen installation is projected in HD video. No documentation exists of the original music used, other than reports of "various percussive" accompaniment. For this re-creation we have chosen to use Varèse's 'Ionisation' and two versions of 'Double Music' by John Cage and Lou Harrison.
CVM’s Film Restoration was supported by an Avant-Garde Masters Grant funded by The Film Foundation, administered by The National Film Preservation Foundation.
Curator/archivist Cindy Keefer
Music supervisor Richard Brown, Ph.D.
Thanks to Barbara Fischinger, Cinemaculture, Film Technology, Co., Hollywood, and William Moritz
Raumlichtkunst is generously supported by Naomi Milgrom AC and the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. Through this important partnership, we will commission and present major works across an international moving image art series, building on ACMI and Naomi Milgrom AC’s experience of supporting, commissioning and presenting leading artists working with the moving image globally.
About Center For Visual Music
Center for Visual Music (CVM) is a nonprofit film archive dedicated to visual music, experimental animation and abstract media. CVM is committed to the preservation, curation, education, scholarship, and dissemination of the film, performances and other media of this tradition, together with related historical documentation and artwork. CVM’s films and programs are featured in museums and cultural centres worldwide. CVM’s collections include Fischinger’s films and papers, which they continue to preserve, promote and distribute.
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