News of changes, events and new releases.
Lumia, images and links to other sites where people are creating dynamic visual art.
Software and ideas for creating your own lumia, including instruments to connect sound and vision.
Comments from visitors like you.
Credits, footnotes, bios, and other loose ends.
Annotated bibliographies, books, a timeline, profiles of pioneers, and other historical and background material.
Order visual music for your computer.

In the earliest days of this site, guestbook type software allowed people to post observations and questions.

February 13, 2001


Congratulations on your web site. I am a professor teaching History of Visual Communication at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, in Argentina. My background is mainly of Graphic Design, but I have been working with computers since the '80s and I feel that the early explorations on abstract animatiuon and lumia are of deep relevance to the history of design. Though commonly overlooked, reviewing the history of synaesthesia and lumiagraphs may shed some light into the specificity of the digital languages and hypermedia.

Thanks a lot.

Carlos Macchi (

Thanks, Carlos. I agree that the historical has potential to shed 'light' on our understandings of these new media. What most amazes me as I learn the history is how many of those working in the area appear to have possessed such clarity of vision about its future (now present) state.

September 19, 2000

In short, Very very very interesting, thank you very much.

Josh Joshua (

August 07, 2000

Hi, again. Sorry, I had no idea that there was soo much behind lumia-as a synaesthete, with color-music synaesthesia, I am wondering if depth of field has been applied as a factor....mostly because much of my musical vision has a quality to it similar to that experienced when I look into the sky to see the stars, but actually see the depth between them...where can I find a practical application of this technology? I live in Vancouver, really excited here about very new to me. thanks a heap.

judi (

I am not aware of any writing or work that specifically addresses depth of field, though there is a fair amount of interest in 3D. Incidentally, there are a number of sites that deal specifically with synaesthia. Leonardo has an excellent list of resources at

August 07, 2000

Hello. Thanks for this information: imagist...yes, I would love to combine my colored musical visions with sound...that would allow me to share the motion and texture of the music I hear with others....hmmmmm. I have often thought that a wall of a room, filled with ?pixels that are in musical arrangement and composition to accompany various recording artists would be a wonderful thing to have to have in a home to reflect both mood and music.

Judi (

July 27, 2000

Here is som e helpful feedback. Page looks interesting, but impossible to read. Im not sure if it is because of the grey matted background or the lettering isnt bold enough to be ledgible against it. I hope to come back to visit your site next month and veiw the changes, but right now its impossible to make out anything so I must move on. Good luck with everything. Hope to see you next month.


Thanks, I hope your find the new look more readable.

July 12, 2000

Very interesting to find your site. Do you know, I wonder, whether the Rimington colour organ still exists, and if so, where I can find it. Thanks for your help..

Victoria Finlay (

I do not know if Rimington's colour organ still exists. If anyone else who reads this is I hope that they will let both you and me know. Incidentally Scattergood-Moore has one of Thomas Wilfred's Clavilux's for sale. I don't know how much he wants for it, but I'm guessing it is one of those "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" things.

March 04, 2000

After reading the timeline and credits, I think you need to include my work as well. I invented an instrument called a photon guitar. Which enabled anyone to create infinitely variable images, in color, directly using fiberoptics and a powerful light source. This insturment was used in avant garde performances at PS 122 in the 70's and 80's and at a variety of festivals and concerts up until the early 90's. There are at least 6 working copies of the instrument on the planet, in the possession of visual and aural artists.

If you would like more information, please contact by email

George O. Stadnik (

I'd love to provide information. Particularly, if you have a web site where others can learn more about your invention. It is truly fascinating to learn of the many things that people have independently devised that converge in this area.

March 04, 2000

I've been creating lumia and lumiagraphs since 1968. Have developed a number of optical instruments that individuals can play viaually along with music. (Not computerized)

Find your references fascinating. Do you Bill Mortiz?

looking forward to your reply.

George O. Stadnik (

I am familiar with Bill Moritz's work and admire it quite a lot. He is one of the inspirations that encouraged me to look ever deeper into the historical aspects of the art.

January 18, 2000

Thanks for all the information. I am looking for software that will run on a PC that will work with video and music. I heard of Image-In but what I heard was that it "crashes" a lot. I am a graduate student in New Mexico and my thesis is on Video ARt. Any help on finding software/sites would be appreciated

Heidi (

I hope that you find the site reorganization helpful. Now, sites that have software are gathered together under the Studio tab.

November 29, 1999

Hello. Lots of great info but on my browser (ie4 winNT 4.0) the grey background looks awful.

I believe the 216 web safe palette exists because those colours are the only ones which are the same on both Macs and PC's running in 8 bit colour. Thats why its such a crappy palette.

For the guy who likes Bomb ( which is bumb) check out redeye, it is insane.

Any advice on how to get paid doing video projections of this sort would be appreciated :)
I've been to hundreds of 'imagers' sites and not one of them mentions how they pay for their dinner.



Charles Crammond (

I hope that the new backgrounds get along better with your browser. As for getting paid, I think it might be interesting to raise that as a thread on the iotacenter list. A few people seem to be doing it at some level, anyway.

November 10, 1999

I found this site while looking up the "visi-sonor." i remembered having read "Empire & Foundation" while talking to someone about the song "Scent of a Mule" by Phish. one of my favorite phish songs is "circus of light"--'now i wander over grounds of light and heat and sound and mist . . . provoking dreams that don't exist.' the purest blends of music and color i've experienced were at phish shows. maybe it's because, as per bowie, the eyes are hungrier than the ears that such light shows can force our attention to what is really being created through the music played. the visual aspect of music certainly exists if we only have the patience to look. i'm very interested in Scriabia. i went to college at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. It's built on land initially owned by the theosophical society and to this day, the college adminstration building is Madame Tingley's old house!

Jim Sweeney (

I like Phish. I'll look for the song you mentioned.

October 25, 1999

Please advise when software is available. Thanks.

Carl (

Will do.

October 03, 1999

excellent website...I'm currently researching for my dissertation on visual music. Its been really hard trying to find you. Can you send me more info. Since I do not have an Apple Mac.

zara bullock (

September 20, 1999

Great site that has clarified much that I have found in bits and pieces elsewhere. One conspicuous ommision though is the work of the Italian Futurists, particularly Russolo and Arnaldo. Ginna Arnaldo is allegedly the first to create a western abstract painting and also preceded Lye and McLaren by a good 20 years with direct film painting. Good site that I have just found today is
Another great source is Bendazzi's book Cartoons:100 yrs which covers loads on all the great avant-gard film makers.
I am in the process of completing an essay with a general outline of the history of visualising music if anyone is interested.

A Clifford (

Thanks for the pointers. As time permits I'll look into the resources you suggest and learn about bit about the Futurists. Let me know when your essay is available and where others can find it.

May 30, 1999

A very interesting site. I found it doing research on Jordon Belson. I downloaded the Lumia software and tried the Films For Music. Very nice!


Thanks. I hope that the CD will make it easier for people to see the lumia.

December 26, 1998 check it out!


December 23, 1998

Fred Collopy -- Beautiful site, thank you.

I noticed that the Time-Line didn't mention the Musicolour System of Gordon Pask and Robin McKinnon-Wood, first demonstrated in 1953 at  Jordan's Yard, Cambridge (UK). Detail can be found in an article by  Pask ("A Comment, a Case History and a Plan") in Jaschia Reichert's  anthology, "Cybernetics, Art and Ideas", New York Graphic Society Ltd.,  Greenwich Connecticut, 1971 (also pub. in England by Studio Vista).

Pask died a couple of years ago; an obituary page can be found at the  Pricipia Cybernetica web-site.

Derek Robinson (

Thanks very much for detailed references to this work. I was aware of Gordon Pask's contributions to cybernetics, but had no idea he has done work in this area. I look forward to learning more about it.

November 19, 1998

Your stuff looks interesting (I'm a fan of the Bomb program, and Cthugha). Unfortunately I don't have access to any OS's which can use Quicktime. A Linux port (or BeOS) would be welcome!

Larry Ayers (

I too am a fan of bomb. I don't know cthugha, but read your brief piece on it and intend to have a look soon.

At the moment, I have no immediate plans for a linux port, but imagine once source code is cleaned up and posted that others might take that one on. I am continuing work these things at Watson research currently though, so who knows what might develop. It is definitely an interesting time for people who are interested in the integration of image and sound.

October 29, 1998

Are there any universal [or at least interestingly coincedental] symmetries you have come across in strict tone - color research? Texture, mood, composition, aesthetic - all necesary...but I suppose what i'm naively looking for is a mathematics of harmony between light, sound, and consciousnes, So i'm curious, in 1998: how formalized is such a theory?

I'm just beginning reading any particulars, so perhaps i should be less specific: Do you have any suggestions for reading material, research, etc, with respect to actual 'Scientific Analysis' of such qualities of human awareness? I've come across [and keep coming across] things randomly, but if you've any direct resources found through your work i'd be highly appreciative.

great site - nicely organized. Wish i could click and see the video works... [instead of waiting six months to find them ;]

alexander (

Some things that come to mind as good starting places are the articles by Tom DeWitt and Brian Evans and Faber Birren's books, especially Color Psychology and Color Therapy. Jeff Burns makes reference on his site to Lawrence Mark's work on the unity of senses. I have not read that yet, so don't know how relevant it is. But since Newton there have been efforts to correlate color and tone. The search for "universal" relationships between tone and color has had a rough history, though. The 1978 Leonardo article by Garner suggests some of the reasons for this.

Copyright 1998–2001 Fred Collopy. This document was last updated on 9/30/04; it is located at