Fulldome

Matinee Visual Music

John Whitney, Thomas Wilfred, Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale

Join us for two psychedelic light paintings by Bill Ham, a previously unpublished work by computer graphics pioneer John Whitney and the meditative colour symphonies of light artist Thomas Wilfred in the “Visual Music” programme track, which features historical avant-garde films by visual artists adapted for the dome space.

Thomas Wilfred: Luminar #52

Thomas Wilfred: Luminar #52

© AJ Epstein, photo: Mathias Völzke

  • 45 min

John Whitney: Homage to Rameau & MN:P

Computer graphics pioneer John Whitney (born in Altadena, California; 1917-1995) is considered one of the first who realized the dream of creating an art that looks like music sounds. Among his achievements is the invention of a handmade mechanical apparatus that enabled him to choreograph abstract forms in a visual medium. In so doing, Whitney was able to render visible in his films the laws and fundamentals of music and discover complementary interactions between sound and image. “Homage to Rameau” is a previously unreleased work by the artist dating back to 1967 and has only been screened privately in 16mm so far. Now, it has been transferred to a digital format and will celebrate its public world premiere. The location of this digital premiere of the remastered and restored film at the Zeiss-Großplanetarium is significant as it echoes the renowned Vortex concerts in San Francisco’s Morrison Planetarium, where his brother James Whitney’s films were projected. The Vortex concerts are credited as planting the seeds of what became one of the greatest cultural shifts in Western History in the late 1960s, eventually culminating in a movement that wove John Whitney’s influences into the cultural canon. “Homage to Rameau” is based on Jean-Philippe Rameau’s composition “La Timide et Tambourin”. “MN:P” is a work from Whitney’s late creative period, inspired by his first experiences with Southwest American indigenous peoples.

Thomas Wilfred: Opus 79 „Multidimensional“ & Clavilux Jr #86

With his lumia instruments, which are based on an imagining construction of electrical, mechanical and reflective elements, the American light art pioneer Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968) created a new art form at the crossroads between technology and modern art. In collaboration with the Epstein Collection and Stiftung Planetarium Berlin, his light paintings that were originally presented as screen and ceiling projections have been adapted for the fulldome, allowing them to be experienced in a digital form. As intended by Wilfred, his meditative colour symphonies are shown without sound.

Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale & Emi Ito: Light Painting #1 & Light Painting #2

To Bill Ham, spontaneous projection painting and “light shows” represent a continuation of abstract expressionism. In the very early 1960s, he discovered that working directly with overhead projectors provided a continuum of images; where composition, execution and presentation occur simultaneously. In all previous live performances this present tense art was shared by the viewer and the artist in real time. For these new compositions, his studio sessions were digitally recorded, newly arranged and adapted for projection in the Zeiss-Großplanetarium dome.

John Whitney: Homage to Rameau (1967, 3 min)
Score: Jean-Philippe Rameau „La timide et Tambourin“
Unpublished work copyright 1967, John Whitney
Unpublished digital transfer and restauration copyright 2021, Whitney Editions, LLC

John Whitney: MN:P (1995, 7min)
Score: John Whitney
Unpublished work copyright 1995, John Whitney
Unpublished digital transfer and restoration copyright 2021, Whitney Editions, LLC

Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale & Emi Ito: Light Painting #1 (2021, 10 min)
Bill Ham and Emi Ito (Assisting Artist)
Light Painting #1
Score by Kara-Lis Coverdale
Light Music #1
A coproduction of Berliner Festspiele / The New Infinity and Zeiss-Großplanetarium Berlin

Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale & Emi Ito: Light Painting #2 (2021, 10 min)
Bill Ham and Emi Ito (Assisting Artist)
Light Painting #2
Score by Kara-Lis Coverdale
Light Music #2
A coproduction of Berliner Festspiele / The New Infinity and Zeiss-Großplanetarium Berlin

Thomas Wilfred: Opus 79 „Multidimensional“ (1932, 10 min)
The Carol and Eugene Epstein Collection/Video courtesy of Clavilux.org

Thomas Wilfred: Clavilux Jr #86 (1930, 7 min)
The Carol and Eugene Epstein Collection/Video courtesy of Clavilux.org