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The Music of Gustav Mahler in Experimental Film Contexts: Questions of Visual Music and Intermedial Theory

Barham, Jeremy (2017) The Music of Gustav Mahler in Experimental Film Contexts: Questions of Visual Music and Intermedial Theory In: The Music and Sound of Experimental Cinema. Oxford University Press, pp. 283-301. ISBN 9780190469900

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Gustav Mahler’s centenary (2010– 11) took place in the age of digital media, whose technological possibilities afforded strikingly diverse opportunities to mark the occasion. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, for example, held a Mahler remix competition based on stems of their recording of the First Symphony, the philosophical and aesthetic implications of which I have discussed elsewhere.1 But also in 2011 the Österreichischer Rundfunk at the RadioKulturhaus in Vienna, together with departure, the creative agency of Vienna, held the intermedially themed “lied lab 2011: gustav mahler festival” [sic], a “creative laboratory uniting top- level performances of Lieder and the art of visualization.”2 It comprised digitally created, moving- image visualisations or interpretations of Mahler’s Frühe Lieder (1880– 87), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (1883– 85), Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1887– 1901), Kindertotenlieder (1901– 04), Rückertlieder (1901– 02), and Das Lied von der Erde (1908– 09), produced by a range of experimental visual artists including Luma. Launisch, annablume, Victoria Coeln, LIA, LWZ, and Valence. It also included a seventy- minute, real- time collaborative audiovisual remix of Mahler’s music by sound artist Fennesz and video artist Lillevan. In the same year, Danish composer Henrik Marstal worked with VJ Dark Matters and the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra to produce a live, multimedia, sample- based performance entitled “Ambient Mahler Remixes”. Interestingly, prior to the centenary years there had already been a small burgeoning tradition of Mahler- based digital experimental visualisation, starting with Slovenian video artist Božidar Svetek’s “Interakt Studio” (1996– 2004), and the work of Austrian visual artist Johannes Deutsch with the “Ars Electronica Futurelab” (2005– 06).3 The fact that not all of the attempts to create visualisations of Mahler’s music, or to use and adapt his music to such ends, came about as a result of the anniversary years 2010– 11, therefore perhaps indicates a wider and deeper perception of the potential creative rewards attached to “remediating” his music.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Music and Media
Authors :
Date : 7 September 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : © Oxford University Press 2017
Additional Information : "This book explores music/sound-image relationships in non-mainstream screen repertoire from the earliest examples of experimental audiovisuality to the most recent forms of expanded and digital technology. It challenges presumptions of visual primacy in experimental cinema and rethinks screen music discourse in light of the aesthetics of non-commercial imperatives. Several themes run through the book, connecting with and significantly enlarging upon current critical discourse surrounding realism and audibility in the fiction film, the role of music in mainstream cinema, and the audiovisual strategies of experimental film. The contributors investigate repertoires and artists from Europe and the USA through the critical lenses of synchronicity and animated sound, interrelations of experimentation in image and sound, audiovisual synchresis and dissonance, experimental soundscape traditions, found-footage film, re-mediation of pre-existent music and sound, popular and queer sound cultures, and a diversity of radical technological, aesthetic, tropes in film media traversing the work of early pioneers such as Walther Ruttmann and Len Lye, through the mid-century innovations of Norman McLaren, Stan Brakhage, Lis Rhodes, Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol, and studio collectives in Poland, to latter-day experimentalists John Smith and Bill Morrison, as well as the contemporary practices of Vjing."
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 01 Feb 2018 13:49
Last Modified : 19 Jun 2020 15:49

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