Thomas Wilfred – hand-painted disks

Thomas Wilfred – hand-painted disks

Danish-born visual artist Thomas Wilfred designed the Clavilux color organ, which used rotating glass disks with hand-painted color patterns. Its inspiration came from a group of Theosophists who wanted to demonstrate spiritual principles through the use of light and color. Wilfred named the artform of color-music projections “Lumia.” He stressed polymorphous, fluid streams of color slowly metamorphosing. He established an Art Institute of Light in New York, and toured giving Lumia concerts in the United States and Europe (at the famous Art Deco exhibition in Paris). He also built “lumia boxes”, self-contained units that looked rather like television sets, which could play for days or months without repeating the same imagery. Although this is one of many examples from the “Visual Music” tradition, rather than a sound-producing instrument itself, the relationship of the spinning disks to graphical sound techniques is significant.

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