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Light Industry at Princeton: Abstronics, Mary Ellen Bute

October 19, 2017 · 7:00 pm9:00 pm · James Stewart Film Theater

Office of the Provost
Image courtesy the Center for Visual Music

A pioneer of visual music and electronic art, Mary Ellen Bute produced over a dozen short abstract animations between the 1930s and the 1950s. Set to classical music by the likes of Bach, Saint-Saëns, and Shoshtakovich, and replete with rapidly mutating geometries, Bute’s filmmaking is at once formally rigorous and energetically high-spirited, like a marriage of high modernism and Merrie Melodies. In the late 1940s, Lewis Jacobs observed that Bute’s films were “composed upon mathematical formulae depicting in ever-changing lights and shadows, growing lines and forms, deepening colors and tones, the tumbling, racing impressions evoked by the musical accompaniment.” Bute herself wrote that she sought to “bring to the eyes a combination of visual forms unfolding along with the thematic development and rhythmic cadences of music.”

Presented in association with the Center for Visual Music.

For ten years Light Industry has been one of the leading venues for alternative film and electronic art in New York. This fall Light Industry presents at Princeton a selection of highlights from their first decade. The series is curated by Thomas Beard, a founder and director of Light Industry, and organized by Devin Fore (German).

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