photography • field recordings • world music • subconscious
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Visual Audio

Don’t much like the word multimedia.

Moving images with sound are films, no matter how short or long.

The combing of sounds and still images is not multi.

At the most it’s dual-media.

Multimedia is far more grander.

Becoming disenchanted with the term multimedia, it felt intriguing to sort an answer: How did the word multimedia come about?

Back 1966, a musician/artist by the name of Bobb Goldstein merged the words multi and media to promote his opening of “LightWorks at L’Oursin” in Long Island, NY.

Goldstein had something going which was truly multi-media — highlighting or coating music by surrounding the viewer with synchronized lighting effects, photographs, films, screens which moved and with mirror balls that gave the illusion the room was spinning.

A year later began what might be considered the grander start of what is truly multimedia —  Liquid Light Shows. Appearing in the mid 60′s to early 70′s, these events were nothing less than multimedia.

The pioneer in multimedia communication was Joshua White. Working with musicians, artists, photographers, filmmakers, proper designers, he created The Joshua Light Show.

Take a look at this astounding photograph from 1966:

The Joshua Light Show team at Fillmore East, late 1960′s
Photograph by Amalie R. Rothschild

Now that’s multimedia!

And in a 1967 NYT’s’ review, the lead of the story begins: A new method of communication is developing in our society – the technique of multimedia.

What’s brilliant is White’s influence is still present today, here in this performance from 2008:

Also interesting is Joshua is still creating. Here is a link explaining his latest projects and the revival of analogue multimedia presentations. There’s also a Kickstarter project to help fund a new Joshua Light Show titled, Liquid Loops II.

Arriving to the origins of the word multimedia, the combination of audio with visuals (stills or even film) just doesn’t feel multi enough.

So what should we call the combination of sounds with stills, where the audio recordings play an equal or possible greater importance with the visuals?

I prefer Visual Audio. Far more enthralling. A truer essence where sounds create images in the mind.

Below are two short visual audio pieces, the first a field recording while stuck in some of the most maddening traffic on earth (I love India…even the traffic), and the latter recorded during the height of riots, mayhem and bloodshed in Indonesia in 1999.




Stuck in traffic driving through Kolkata, one of my favorite cities.

[wpaudio url=" Street Traffic.mp3" text="Kolkata Traffic" dl="0"]
(iPhone and iPad)


Many people died over this weekend of riots in Jakarta. The sounds visuals from Egypt
in March 2011 reminded of that weekend 12 years ago in Indonesia.

[wpaudio url=" Reformasi-bombs.mp3" text="Reformasi" dl="0"]
(iPhone and iPad)

May 10, 2011   4 Comments