The Imager Project

The Imager Project is aimed at organizing learning around the design and development of a visual music instrument, the Imager Visual Synthesizer. Imager will be an iPad app, designed to serve as a foundation for a generation of visual synthesizers conceived and built by the artists and musicians who want to play them.

The instrument will also serve as a kind of boundary object, which can be used to understand, test, and expand upon some of the big ideas that have arisen in the history of visual music. I announced this project in a video presentation at Seeing Sound 2020. This 15 minute presentation describes the vision and briefly identifies some of those ideas.

The Imager Project: Designing the Future of Painting

You can learn more on the Imager page of this site and you are invited to join the Imager Project.

References, in order of appearance

Willard Huntington Wright, The Future of Painting, 1923. The link is to a full text of the book that provided the structure for the talk.

John Loughery, Alias S. S. Van Dine: The Man Who Created Philo Vance, 1992. This is an engaging biography of Willard Huntington Wright which also provides great glimpses into the life of his artist brother, Stanton Macdonald-Wright.

Thomas Wilfred, “Light and the artist,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, June 1947, 247-255 and “Composing in the art of lumis,” December 1948, 79-93.

Stanton Macdonald-Wright, “A Treatise on color,” 1924 reproduced in the 1967 Smithsonian Retrospective Exhibition Catalog (edited by David W. Scott).

Thomas Cole, The Life and Works of Thomas Cole (Elliot S. Vessell, ed), Chapter 20, 1997.

John Whitney, Digital Harmony: On the Complementarity of Music and Visual Art, 1980.

Karl Gerstner, The Forms of Color: The Interaction of Visual Elements, 1986.

Gordon Pask, “A comment, a case history and a plan,”  in Jasia Reichardt [ed.], Cybernetics, Art, and Ideas, London: Studio Vista, 1971, 76-99.

Contributions, with thanks!

The drummer/composer/improvisor appearing in the first clip is Anthony Taddeo.

The artist/teacher appearing in the second clip is Catherine Butler. The music was Chrissie Hynde’s Meditation on a Pair of Wire Cutters.


Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s 1960-69 piece is titled the Synchrome Kineidoscope. It is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection.