Convergence of Time and Space: Visual Music from an Electroacoustic Music Perspective




Journal Title

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Oxford University Press


Book chapter

Peer reviewed



This chapter considers the historical lineage and conceptual origins of visual music, addressing the turn to abstraction and absolute film in visual arts, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century, and the turn to mimesis and spatialisation in music, particularly through the acousmatic tradition after World War II. The latter context will be used to introduce relevant concepts from electroacoustic music. The authors propose the existence of a process of convergence between visual artists and musicians that prompted the former to embrace time through a shift away from mimesis towards abstraction, and the latter to adopt greater focus on space in shifting from abstraction towards mimesis. Together, these historical shifts serve as a preamble to the development of audiovisual art, revealing underlying theoretical commonalities regarding the articulation of time and space. These commonalities suggest fundamental dynamics of what Chion calls the audiovisual contract and strategies available to the visual music creator to create a synergy of sound and image. Some of these strategies are demonstrated in two case studies of works by the authors.



visual music, video music, absolute film, animation, mimesis, electroacoustic music, gesture


Battey, B. and Fischman, R. (2016) Convergence of Time and Space: Visual Music from an Electroacoustic Music Perspective. In: Kaduri, Y., Ed., The Oxford Handbook of Music, Sound, and Image in the Fine Arts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [In press]


Research Institute

Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)