Digital Media Art Project: The Musicality of Drawing
The concept “Musicality of Drawing” explores how to express music using hybrid immersive drawings, and how visitors perceive the musicality of a spherical perspective.
The next definition is concept, for which I developed a first part here. Hence, the aim of this entry is to complete such a development:
Firstly, and according to the previous entry, the definition of the concept should consider, first, methodological definitions, and second, previous artistic experiences. Therefore, let’s try to develop a bit further these two points, so to understand their connection with the concept.
Within the module MIPA (Metodologia de Investigação e Produção Artística) of the DMAD PhD program, I developed a short article. I called that article “Definiciones metodológicas para una investigación basada en la práctica artística con Modelos Híbridos Inmersivos” (in English: “Methodological definitions for practice-based research with Immersive Hybrid Models”). You can peek the essay right below this paragraph or download it here.
In that article, I explained a couple of useful things that structure the methodological approach. For example, I talked about the connection of the current digital media art project with a previous ongoing research. In that regard, the previous research developed the so-called “Hybrid Immersive Models” (HIM) and their application using the cubical perspective (Olivero, 2021).
Furthermore, I also considered the advantages and disadvantages of following the already known approaches for social and natural sciences, i.e., the positivist and the interpretative approaches. Also, I summarised how these more classical approaches do not fully fit for an art-practice based research.
Indeed, the art-practice based research field has developed in the last years its own methodologies (Sullivan, 2005). Within them, Patricia Leavy (2020) structured some criteria for understanding if an approach is valid or not, from which I rescued strategic points to consider, such as Question-method Fit, Translation, Holistic Approach, Data Analysis, Usefulness, Audience Response, Artfulness and Multiple Meanings.
Previous artistic experiences
On the other hand, this second part is connected with the real situations that I have dealt with as an artist. Indeed, as explained within this entry I gathered experiences and important reference points while creating handmade VR drawings in equirectangular format and listening to live music.
Therefore, the concept should consider these aspects from a more focused point of view: when I had those experiences I was not really aware about what I was doing. So, I would like to explore them specifically now: how do I see music? What is the effect of music on my graphical output? Do I have a sound/graphic alphabet? How does a HIM collaborate on expressing that connection?
According to Düchting (2013), one of the strongest elements stimulating Kandinsky’s artistic sensibility was music. For example, he had a strong visual experience during the representation of the opera “Lohengrin” of Wagner: “I felt that I had all my colours in front of me. Disorderly and almost absurd lines were forming in front of me” (p.10).
Thanks to his synaesthetic ability, Kandinsky perceived the power of music and at the same time sensed the forces of painting, which had yet to be discovered. The relationship between colours and sounds, which for him was not only supposed but actually existed, captivated him to such an extent that this secret correspondence of the arts became one of the pillars of his artistic convictions, even the starting point of his painting (Düchting, 2013, p.10).
Now, when I look back to my own experience in 2017, I notice that the visual expression on my drawings is not connected in the same way with “what was happening” while I drew them.
In effect, the drawing of Elizabete: Hat, Fruit or Flute shows more plasticity and fluidity, it is full of colours and it connects many points. Within the virtual environment one can follow that connections, and move along the different elements. This is a representation of Elizabete’s music: her compositions have certain elements and passages connected within different songs, like in a symphony with different acts.
Elizabete: Hat, Fruit or Flute – VR navigation © Lufo Art, 2017
Instead, the immersive model Waking Up 360 Times is black and white, has shapes with an outline more defined, and forwards the visual experience towards certain specific points of view. And Raoul Vignal’s music is also black and white, with subtle and delicate structures, that forward the listener to certain horizons, as the perfect soundtrack for a road trip.
Waking Up 360 Times – VR navigation © Lufo Art, 2017
Here and now
When I see both the aesthetic results of the flat anamorphosis and the virtual environment navigation, I can see that they express the atmosphere in which they were created with a complete different structure. Yet, this characteristic might be easier to perceive and understand within the VR navigation since is that image the one that “I was seeing” while drawing.
In words of W. Benjamin (2008), the historical moment (my own historical moment), the “here and now” and the “aura of the artwork” are printed and clearly visible, even if I was not aware of their existence during their realisation… Effectively, I can hear again the music of Elizabete Balçus and Raoul Vignal again while I navigate the VR environment…
But… Can you? If I would ask you to describe the music watching the VR drawings, what would you say is the music like?
The Musicality of Drawing
Henceforth, considering the previous reasoning, I would like to explore the concept of the Musicality of Drawing. Meaning, that I would like to research about the reflective actions of:
- How do I express music through graphical signs using immersive perspectives (artfulness, usefulness, holistic approach, multiple meanings).
- How do people read the musicality of my hybrid immersive perspectives (audience response, usefulness, translation, data analysis).
Consequently, some questions to structure this reflective reading might be:
- How do we see music?
- What music do you hear watching to a certain drawing?
- What is the degree of accuracy for transmitting with a hybrid immersive model a certain sensation caused by music?
- Is there a way of reading music with a different graphical expression?
- As an artist, will I draw differently now that I realise the concept?
In conclusion, I have fully described the concept that I pursue with the musicality of drawing. In other words, the developments of this entry project a way of:
- reading the previous work with hybrid immersive models,
- relating the methodological definitions for an ongoing investigation within the field of digital arts,
- considering a synaesthetic connection between music and immersive perspectives,
Finally, within the next entries I will develop the prototype and the testing stages, before the final implementation on July.
Benjamin, W. (2008). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Walter Benjamin (J. A. Underwood, Trans.; 1st edition). Penguin. Available online: https://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/benjamin.pdf
Düchting, H. (2013). Kandinsky. TASCHEN.
Leavy, P. (2020). Methods meets art: Arts-based research practice (Third edition). The Guilford Press.
Olivero, L. F. (2021). Hybrid Immersive Models from Cubical Perspective Drawings—Modelli Ibridi Immersivi da Disegni in Prospettiva Cubica [PhD Thesis]. University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli.
Sullivan, G. (2005). Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in the Visual Arts. SAGE.