[update – 01-06-15]

The Abstract from my final submitted thesis now provides the most concise overview of this Practice as Research Ph.D. project:

This thesis presents the theoretical, technical and aesthetic concerns in realising a harmonic complementarity and more intimate perceptual connection between music and moving image. It explores the inspirations and various processes involved in creating a series of artistic works – attached as a portfolio and produced as the research. This includes the Cymatic Adufe (v1.1) – a sound-responsive, audiovisual installation; Stravinsky Rose (v2.0) – an audiovisual short in Dome format; and the live performance works of Whitney Triptych (v1.2), Moiré Modes (v1.1) and Stravinsky Rose (v3.0).

The thesis outlines an approach towards realising a deeper understanding of the interplay between sound and image in Visual Music – through applying: the Differential Dynamics of pioneering, computer-aided, experimental animator John Whitney Sr.; alternate musical tunings based on harmonic consonance and the Pythagorean laws of harmony; and sound’s ability to induce physical form and flow via Cymatics – the study of wave phenomena and vibration – a term coined by Dr. Hans Jenny for his seminal research into these effects in the 1960s and 70s, using a device of his own design – the ʻtonoscopeʼ.

The thesis discusses the key method for this artistic investigation through the design, fabrication and crafting of a hybrid analogue/digital audiovisual instrument – a contemporary version of Jenny’s sound visualisation tool – The Augmented Tonoscope. It details the developmental process which has realised a modular performance system integrating sound making, sound analysis, analogue outputs, virtual systems, musical interface and recording and sequencing.

Finally, the thesis details the impact of this system on creating audiovisualisation of a distinct quality through: a formalist, minimal, decluttered aesthetic; a direct, elemental and real-time correspondence between sound and image; a mirroring of music’s innate movement and transition within the visual domain; and an underlying concord or harmony between music and moving image.

[update – 07-10-11]

In my ‘Designing your own Research Website‘ session for the MIRIAD Research in Practice PGR training programme I present several arguments for why you should design your own research website.

  1. Historical – the Internet and World Wide Web present an ideal contemporary mechanism to engage in the academic traditions of free information exchange and peer review;
  2. Ideological – knowledge should be free;
  3. Procedural – mapping your journey and providing evidence to fulfill MMU requirements;
  4. Methodological – enabling the research process;
  5. Networking – promoting your research agenda and progress.

Full session notes available at the above link  – and an (incomplete) video of the presentation is on Vimeo.


In my initial Research Interests I responded to the questions:

The particular contribution to knowledge and understanding in this area that you hope to make.
The research methods and critical approaches that you plan to use to address the problems or questions you have set.

proposing a WordPress blog would act as my ‘open-source’ research journal – and specifically:

I plan to share my knowledge and insights with the research and wider communities through a decidedly ʻopen sourceʼ modus operandi – making my own evolving tool set, methodology, code and software, electronic and design schematics, documentation and outputs freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license and thus adding rich aspects to the field.

I intend to draw significantly from the model of research methods and critical approaches developed through the PaR initiative.

By specifying a clear research enquiry at the outset succeeded by attention to and dialogue with the process of my art practice I aim to encourage and reveal research imperatives and significance, original insight and distinct and discreet approaches to the curation and dissemination of knowledge.

I plan to work within the following documentation methods over the course of the project:

  • a physical and digital sketchbook – via tumblr.com
  • photography – via flickr.com
  • video – via vimeo.com
  • audio – via soundcloud.com

I intend to keep a research journal via a WordPress blog – showing how the various aspects of my study inform one another through the clearly structured ʻcategoriesʼ of:

  • complementary writing – locating my praxis in a lineage of similar practices and relating and referencing my specific inquiry to broader contemporary debate;
  • critical reflection – making my embodied ʻperformer knowledgeʼ explicit – comparing and contrasting other work, finding resonance between my research and contemporary debates, offering new insights into the conceptual framework and theory implicated within my practice;
  • documentation of process – recording evidence of my ongoing practical, experimental and iterative design including tool sets, methodology and outputs, capturing moments of insight and happy accident;
  • artistic outputs – demonstrating rigour in respect to the imaginative creation, thoughtful composition, meticulous editing and professional production of new artwork;
  • review and feedback – presenting evidence of professional peer review and limited data gathering through structured interviews with select audiences

The practice itself will be the most substantial evidence I submit though I will also produce an ʻevidence boxʼ of materials – drawn from my documentation and complementary writing – which makes the research context manifest and is deemed to assist the sub-panel.