notes for the convergence of LIGHT, COLOR, and SOUND



  • Liquid light shows (or psychedelic light shows) “are a form of light art that surfaced in the early 1960s as accompaniment to electronic music and avant-garde theatre performances. They were later adapted for performances of rock or psychedelic music. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_light_show)
  • Light art or luminism[1] “is a visual art form in which light is the main medium of expression. It is an art form in which either a sculpture produces light, or light is used to create a “sculpture” through the manipulation of light, colours, and shadows.”Light art

SHOW of LIGHT ARTISTS with diverse interests and techniques at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2011) commented in Aesthetica magazine essay, “Manipulating Light.”

LIGHT PAINTING, painting with light, light drawing, or light art performance photography are terms that describe photographic techniques of moving a light source while taking a long exposure photograph, either to illuminate a subject or space, or to shine light at the camera to ‘draw’, or by moving the camera itself during exposure of light sources. Practiced since the 1880s, the technique is used for both scientific and artistic purposes, as well as in commercial photography. (Light painting)

VISUAL MUSIC: Colour and Sound:  Visual Music by Maura McDonnell (2002) 


[DIARY NOTE–REMINISCENCE… “So they are going to replace MOMA ! In the old Museum of Modern Art there was a LUMIA in the basement … I visited this installation of Thomas Wilfred’s work on each of the few hundreds days I visited MOMA through the 1960’s (studying in the cafe or garden led to many happy thoughts and encounters).  During these visits a meditative few minutes visiting his light sculptures projected on a screen in a light-sheltered  tent was a great start.   Some computer media  players have a version of it … transforming sound into synchronized colored clouds … But Wilfred devised the “clavilux” that transformed strokes on a keyboard into projections of light.  The psychedelic light shows that accompanied a few favorite musical groups tapped into a deep reservoir of cognitive predilections:  the sensory vocabulary of most disciplines find alternative ways of communicating the experience  pathetically inadequate: tasters of wine, tea, coffee … sniffers of colognes … aficionados in any domain … we have all had experiences that cannot be adequately embraced by any one sensory domain … we do the best we can with words, but there is no vocabulary sufficient.  More holistic sensory representation – converging senses –  feel closer, but cannot be communicated.]


Lumia Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light