Technical Sound-Image Transformations

5 Audiovisual Transformation Using Video Technology

Wassily Kandinsky expressed the following in his book Punkt und Linie zu Fläche (Point and Line to Plane) from 1926: The geometric line is an invisible thing. It is the track made by the moving point; that is, its product. It is created by movement — specifically through the destruction of the intense self-contained repose of the point.[22]The validity of this sentence for the primal scene of a medium which on first view does not appear to show any particular similarities to artistic drawings, is expressed by Claus Pias in an essay on the genealogy of computer graphics.[23]

Here we are dealing with the electromagnetic deflection of an electron beam inside of a cathode ray tube, the image-generating building component of radar displays, oscilloscopes, and vector screens.[24] Here, the image is not found on a plane, as in film, but in an accumulation of the routes taken at high speed by a point of light on a phosphor screen. The permanent flow of the electronic image is formed over time due to the inertia of our visual perception, while the routes traced by the point of light merge to form curves that appear static. These curves drawn by the point of light are ephemeral artifacts of our visual sensory cells. Only by constantly tracking the traces left by the point of light is the line able to transcend its vanishing into the unseen.

Control signals, superimposed at right angles, which deflect the electron beam inside the cathode ray tube, describe the movement of the point of light. In this way, the moving image in video is merely a flow of signals, while in film it is bound to the process of its medial fixation on celluloid. For this reason, primarily methods of visualizing sound and music have been developed in video, as opposed to strategies for the photoelectric generation of sound using optical sound. In contrast to the pictorial principle of static celluloid, the temporal continuity of the electronic image signal can be musically perceived as the sound of one line scanning.”[25] Microphone-recorded or synthesized sounds thus generate the source or input signal, which diverts the image point without inertia. The question of the aesthetic consequences of the volatility and immateriality of the electronic image led as early as the 1960s to artistic experiments with the video-immanent potential of using sound for image production.