Mixed media

April 19, 2011


Sometime back in the last century (1972 actually), a friend and I made a computer generated film where the image was created by the soundtrack.

For the technical minded, that is a EMS Synthi A synthesiser running via an analog-to-digital converter to a PDP8. A 16mm film camera with servo controlled coloured filters recorded the output on the large circular cathode ray tube.

Unfortunately, I don’t know where the film is now but my memory is that it somewhat resembled the coloured patterns that media players show when playing music files. Unremarkable now, but at the time it was novel. I think the doing of it was worthier than the result.

I was prompted to recall this by seeing this music machine shown at the design academy Eindhoven’s exhibition at Milan design week 2011.


It consists of a scale model of the city of Eindhoven wrapped around a cylinder which when rotated plays a piano keyboard.

How successful this mixed-media work is is open to question as the accompanying video is so poor that you can’t really hear the sound.

Still, like my 1972 film, I applaud the effort.


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