NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1922 __ Wax Slicing Machine
Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967)
Comment : His first films of the early 1920s are among his most radical, perhaps because he felt challenged to create something quite different from the romantic choreography of small figures in the films of Ruttmann or the static development of graphic intricacies in the work of Viking Eggeling. At the 1921 world premiere of Walther Ruttmann's "Lichtspiel Opus I." in Frankfurt, Dr. Bernhard Diebold introduced Fischinger to Ruttmann. Fischinger told him about his idea to create a labor-saving animation tool: a so-called "Wax Slicing Machine" which synchronized a vertical slicer with a movie camera's shutter, thus enabling the efficient imaging of progressive cross-sections through a length of molded material. Although Ruttmann moved his studio to Munich, they kept in contact by letter, and in November 1922, Fischinger eventually licensed his wax slicing machine to Ruttmann. In the meantime, Fischinger had started to experiment with three-dimensional, abstract wax figures and swirled colored liquids. Diebold encouraged Fischinger to make a movie using abstract charts and graphs, which he had designed in December 1921 within the context of a lecture on the dynamics in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night, Or What You Will". After obtaining his engineer's diploma, Fischinger moved to Munich in order to fully dedicate himself to filmmaking. In addition to his own abstract films, which he prepared by means of his wax slicing machine and other animation techniques, Fischinger produced half a dozen representational cartoons together with Louis Seel using the rotoscope technique. With the composer Alexander Lászlo he collaborated on "Farblichtmusik", a multi-projection light show which toured theaters and exhibitions. Over the next three years, he produced a series of black-and-white studies tightly synchronized to music. The films were screened with great success in Europe, Japan, and America, and by 1932 Fischinger was able to engage his brother Hans, his wife Elfriede as well as three other girls at his own studio. Furthermore, the success allowed him to pursue his experiments with drawn, synthetic sound and collaborate with Bela Gaspar on the development of a subtractive three-color film process - "Gasparcolor" – which enabled him to finish his first color film "Kreise" ("Circles") in 1933.Fischinger was also influenced by Tibetan Buddhism toward meditative mandala structures. In Wax Experiments and Spirals Fischinger designed visual patterns of extreme complexity which often move in hypnotic cycles, yet he interrupts with radical editing of single frames of contrasting imagery. Similar virtuosity in editing characterizes R-1: A Form-Play, a spectacular abstract multiple-projection show (using five film projectors and slides) which he performed between 1925 and 1927 (These dates are questionable for these multiple projection performances. Research and published work by both Dr. Jörg Jewanski and Cindy Keefer place the first performance in 1926; it is also likely they were performed after 1927.). Even when viewing the panels as separate films, one is struck by their dynamic vigor and fresh inventiveness. Other works : Multiple projector performances, first with Alexander László's Farblichtmusik concerts, then on his own, titled Fieber, Vakuum and Macht (Power), c. 1926-27; later, R-1, ein Formspiel (R-1, a Form-Play). B/W & tinted, accompanied by various music / Studie Nr. 1, c.1929, b/w, silent (originally accompanied by live organ music). / Ornament Sound Experiments, c. 1932, b/w, sound / Synthetic Sound experiments, 1948 and 1955. After some years of ill-health, Fischinger died on January 31, 1967, in Hollywood. (Dr. William Moritz)
Urls : http://www.oskarfischinger.org/ (last visited )

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