John Whitney (born in Altadena, California; 1917-1995) is considered a pioneer of computer graphics, visual music, and abstract film. He was an artist in residence at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a member of the art faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awarded him the Academy’s Medal of Commendation for Cinematic Pioneering in 1986. Whitney’s artistry in the visual medium as well as his ground-breaking filmmaking have also been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and numerous other international institutions and festivals.
Whitney is considered one of the first who has realized the dream of creating an art that looks like music sounds. Among his greatest 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.