Diagonal Montage

(course for Artscience, 2006/7/8)
taught together with Horst Rickels

Diagonal Montage offers an introduction to the many ways to compose possible relationships between image and sound in time. Two ideas introduced by filmmaker and montage theorist Sergei Eisenstein will serve as points of departure: ‘horizontal montage’ arises from the interaction between meaningful elements juxtaposed within a temporal sequence, while ‘vertical montage’ refers to the interaction of simultaneously present layers within the work, for example the imagetrack and the soundtrack.

The course will consist of hands-on activities, using low-tech but hi-fi video and audio techniques to create abstract image & sound experiments. Each experiment will be based on a radically different approach to montage, in order to explore the wide range of possibilities. Counterpoint to this practical activity will be the discussion of theoretical texts and the analysis of examples taken from the history of experimental cinema, music and sound.

week 1: visual music and synesthesia



  • A.W.Rimington, “Colour-Music, The Art of Mobile Colour”, Hutchinson & Co., London, 1912. (several reprints in last few years)
  • Russet and Starr, “Experimental Animation”, Da Capo Press, New York, 1988.
  • William Moritz, “Optical Poetry”, Indiana University Press, 2004.

further reading:

  • a pamphlet by A.W.Rimington
  • Larry Marks, “The Unity of the Senses: Interrelations among the Modalities”, Academic Press, New York, 1978.
  • A.B. Klein, “Colour-Music, The Art of Light”, Crosby Lockwood & Son, London, 1930.
  • Gene Youngblood, “Expanded Cinema”, Studio Vista, London, 1970. (on-line here).
  • Golan Levin, Painterly Interfaces for Audiovisual Performance“, masters thesis, MIT Media Lab, 2000.

week 2: dialectical montage

Eisenstein texts to be discussed in class:
(note: the first two are english and dutch versions of the same text)


  • Sergei Eisenstein, “Film Form”, Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1949. (many reprints and translations)
  • Sergei Eisenstein, “The Film Sense”, Faber and Faber, New York, 1942. (many reprints and translations)
  • Hans Eissler, Theodor Adorno, “Composing for the Films”, Oxford University Press, New York, 1947. (several reprints in last few years)

further reading:

  • Zofia Lissa, “Ästhetik der Filmmusik”, Henschelverlag, Berlin, 1965.
  • Michel Chion, “le Son au Cinema”, ed. de l’Etoile, Paris, 1985.

Joost Rekveld