Technical Sound-Image Transformations

1 Audiovisual Transformation as an Aesthetic Process

The term audiovisual transformation describes the processes of converting sounds into images and images into sounds. This text deals with analogue transformation as opposed to digital parameter mapping. Different media can take on the role of transmitters and also be effective in aesthetic terms as prerequisites for conversion. This is particularly apparent at the intersection of film, electro-acoustic music, and video art, a field in which audiovisual strategies are developed that respond to the technical medialization of sound and image. Similar to concepts such as color-tone analogies and structural analogies, transformation models also reflect on the relationship between sound and images, as well as the interaction of different art genres in the twentieth century. For example in 1922 Raoul Hausmann described the photoelectric cell as an instrument with which the existence of an identity of light and sound could be proved, as a result of which “no connections between painting and music in the sense of established genres and sentimental categorizations” might any longer be acknowledged.[1] The writings of László Moholy-Nagy and John Cage, published a good ten years later, continued to reflect on the relationship between audiovisual media technology and art production.[2] These early aesthetic-conceptual reflections on the transformability of sound and image can be seen as paving the way for the audiovisual experiments in video that have taken place since the late 1950s.[3]