Color Organs

A color organ is a device, usually controlled from a keyboard, with which music can be visualized or a pure display of colors presented as an autonomous art form. The inventors of such instruments often enthusiastically devoted large parts of their lives to their idea, constantly made technical improvements, expended large amounts of time and money, but in most cases invested their energy more in technical advancements than in aesthetic issues. Many of these inventors were convinced they were the first to have conceived and built such an instrument. They were often pianists, artists from other fields, but there were also chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and mystics. The first concept for a color organ can be traced back to 1724. In the nineteenth century, the idea of pure color-light art increasingly became the focus. With the advent of film, color-light art in abstract film removed itself both from its realization by means of a piano keyboard as well as from its theoretically reinforced dependence on music. Thus autonomous light kinetics emerged as a combination of form, motion, and light.