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Circadian Echoes

PAYLING, David (2015) Circadian Echoes. [Video]

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Abstract or description

Originally influenced by Norman McClaren's Pas de Deux (, I attempted to create a flowing dance like motion via abstract animation in Quartz Composer. Gestural input to the computer trackpad was designed to initiate rotating sequences of openGL curves. These animated curve splines possessed similarities to the movement of a dancers arms, but are generated entirely synthetically. The addition of video feedback, further processing and multiple overlays created circular forms, less in common with a dancing motion, which interact throughout the evolving video composition.
External Link to Work:

Keywords: visual music, animation, music, audio-visual, audio-visual composition

Item Type: Video
Additional Information: Circadian Echoes was inspired by Norman McClaren's short film ‘Pas de Deux’ (1968), in which two people perform a dance routine. Set in high contrast and silhouetting lighting conditions the couples' performance is also enhanced by various optical processing effects. The compositional process involved developing a method of creating gestural motions of a CGI animated line which were intended to be a mimetic representation of the dancers’ arms movements. This extends the work of Smalley (1997) by creating tools and methods that allow visual materials to have degrees of gestural surrogacy in a similar way to sound materials. Developmental Stages were documented in two stages. (Developmental Stage 1: - to be titled ‘Development Stage 1’) Stage 1 had a single spline curve moving in response to a mouse click. Stage 2 (add this link to the Store entry: - to be titled ‘Development Stage 2’) saw the addition of feedback and rotation, which created optical effects similar to those in McLaren’s work. Further processing and multiple overlays created circular forms and further surrogacy from the recognisable dance-like gestures. The overall compositional strategy was to create passages of subtle tension, which, as discussed by Evans, can be used as a method for resolving tension in compositions and visual montages (2005, p. 15). This was achieved by development of the abstract forms up until 2’55”, when they resolve into a balanced, mirrored symmetrical pattern coincident with a diminuendo in the soundtrack. Performances. Premiered at the flEXiff Experimental Film Festival, Sydney Australia in 2016 and performed at Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music. Queens University, Belfast. The underpinning critical and conceptual frameworks for the processes were presented at the SeeingSound Symposium at Bath Spa University also in 2016. Evans, B. (2005) ‘Foundations of a Visual Music’, Computer Music Journal, 29(4), pp. 11–24. McLaren, N. (1968) Pas de Deux. Available at: (Accessed: 10 August 2018). Smalley, D. (1997) ‘Spectromorphology: Explaining Sound-Shapes’, Organised Sound, 2(2), pp. 107–126.
Uncontrolled Keywords: INCL
Subjects: W300 Music
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies > Film, Sound and Vision
Depositing User: Dave PAYLING
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 11:58
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2019 10:38

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