Robert Redmond-Cleaver

Synchromism in the 21st Century

Robert Cleaver-Redmond
Supervisor: Maura Mc Donnell

This project seeks to answer if the examination of the colour theory, and methods of using colour, in the abstract art movement, Synchromism, can provide a useful artistic method for crafting colour in motion, and correlating coloured forms with sound, in a new visual-music composition work.


Synchromism, is an early visual-music movement, active only from the 1910s to the 1920s. This art movement focused on using colour in a similar way to how composers would use notes in a symphony. They did this by using colour in abstract ways, and using it to create musical qualities, such as rhythm and tone. This project is examining how these techniques have been, or could still be translated to a modern context, and how they would work in the technological landscape of the 21st Century.


The history of the visual-music movement, Synchromism, was studied, as well as the methods and techniques used within the movement, to find out how these techniques have been, or could still be modernised by artists working with new digital technologies. Studies were conducted in both image and video formats to find the most suitable ways of translating the ideas of Synchromism to new software like Adobe Photoshop and After Effects, mainly consisting of a lot of trial and error. The format of the work was to consist of photographs taken over Summer, and create a visual-walk through the locations, with the Synchromist effects re-painting and transitioning between the photos.


Photographs were taken and manipulated in Adobe Photoshop, with many being wiped of their colours, and repainted using gradients, lens flares and solid colour layers. They were then placed in Adobe After Effects to create an ever-evolving journey through these images. The main tool used was Displacement Mapping. As one picture is wiped of its colour and form, another is repainted onto the screen. This is paired with an acousmatic accompaniment, that aids the visual techniques in displaying their musical qualities.

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