ISO abstract video art from '70s-'80s
March 31, 2021 1:31 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to track down an abstract art video from probably the late '70s or early '80s. It was on TV and I lived in Ottawa, Canada, at the time. I saw only the final minute or two and this is what I remember: The visuals were generated by computer or analog video synthesizer and consisted of fine curvy lines slowly morphing, similar to this and this. The soundtrack was Pachelbel's Canon. Does this ring any bells?
posted by mpark to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Just googling site:letterboxd.com, I think this could be Odyssey (1979), a.k.a. "Ron Hays Music-Image: Odyssey," available here.
posted by Wobbuffet at 2:02 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


The time period and description of the visuals make me think of John Whitney, though I haven’t seen a film from him with that background music. There’s a bunch more of his work on Youtube.
posted by firefleet at 7:24 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


That youtube video looks like a Windows Screensaver. Googling Classic Windows Screensaver gets a ton of results. the one I'm thinking of is Beziers.
posted by theora55 at 7:49 AM on March 31


I just spent some time getting screensavers from screensaversplanet; there are many sources, including Microsoft, if you're on Windows. They aren't as necessary as they once were, but I find them pleasant to watch, and the Marquee one will show time or a message.
posted by theora55 at 7:59 AM on March 31


Response by poster: Thank you, Wobbuffet! Odyssey is it. I had no idea it was so long! How exactly did you find it??

Oh, and firefleet, thanks for reminding me of John Whitney. I saw some of his stuff back in the day and tried to make sense of his Digital Harmony book.
posted by mpark at 8:04 AM on March 31


Best answer: How exactly did you find it??

Mostly luck. I googled site:letterboxd.com pachelbel animation, and there were only two hits, so it was easy to check for the first on Youtube and find that its ending was a match for your examples.

My thought process included remembering that Letterboxd user ratings had led me to experimental animation kind of like this in the past, that its user reviews tend to be pretty well-informed, and that IMDb in many ways casts too wide a net (e.g. it includes TV episodes and a lot more detail about cast & crew). But only one person at Letterboxd mentioned Pachelbel in their review, so it was pretty unlikely this worked. I'd guess maybe other folks who dropped in to favorite Odyssey straight up knew the answer.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:24 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


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