This volume surveys the key histories, theories and practice of artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, architects and technologists that have worked and continue to work with visual material in real time.

Covering a wide historical period from Pythagoras’s mathematics of music and colour in ancient Greece, to Castel’s ocular harpsichord in the 18th century, to the visual music of the mid-20th century, to the liquid light shows of the 1960s and finally to the virtual reality and projection mapping of the present moment, Live Visuals is both an overarching history of real-time visuals and audio-visual art and a crucial source for understanding the various theories about audio-visual synchronization. With the inclusion of an overview of various forms of contemporary practice in Live Visuals culture – from VJing to immersive environments, architecture to design – Live Visuals also presents the key ideas of practitioners who work with the visual in a live context.

This book will appeal to a wide range of scholars, students, artists, designers and enthusiasts. It will particularly interest VJs, DJs, electronic musicians, filmmakers, interaction designers and technologists.

chapter |5 pages


The Long History of Moving Images Becoming Alive
BySteve Gibson

part I|126 pages

The History of Live Visuals

chapter 1|32 pages

Inventing Instruments

Colour-Tone Correspondence to Colour-Music Performance (Pre-1900)
ByMaura McDonnell

chapter 2|21 pages

Moving Towards the Performed Image (Colour Organs, Synesthesia and Visual Music)

Early Modernism (1900–1955)
BySteve Gibson

chapter 3|27 pages

Liquid Visuals

Late Modernism and Analogue Live Visuals (1950–1985)
BySteve Gibson

chapter 4|20 pages

Scratch Video and Rave

The Rise of the Live Visuals Performer (1985–2000)
ByLéon McCarthy, Steve Gibson

chapter 5|24 pages

The Post-Conceptual Digital Era (2000–Present)

ByPaul Goodfellow, Steve Gibson

part II|154 pages

The Theory of Live Visuals

chapter 6|29 pages

Cross-Modal Theories of Sound and Image

ByJoseph Hyde

chapter 7|30 pages

Live Visuals in Theory and Art

ByPaul Goodfellow

chapter 8|14 pages

Live Visuals

Technology and Aesthetics
ByLéon McCarthy

chapter 9|32 pages


Audio-Visual User Interfaces: Working With Users to Create Performance Technologies
ByNuno N. Correia, Atau Tanaka

chapter 10|27 pages

A Parametric Model for Audio-Visual Instrument Design, Composition and Performance

ByAdriana Sá, Atau Tanaka

chapter 11|20 pages

Presence and Live Visual Performance

ByDonna Leishman

part III|87 pages

The Practice of Live Visuals

chapter 12|19 pages

VJing, Live Audio-Visuals and Live Cinema

BySteve Gibson, Stefan Arisona

chapter 13|27 pages

Immersive Environments and Live Visuals

BySteve Gibson

chapter 14|17 pages

Architectural Projections

Changing the Perception of Architecture With Light
BySimon Schubiger, Stefan Arisona, Lukas Treyer, Gerhard Schmitt

chapter 15|22 pages

Design and Live Visuals

ByDonna Leishman

part IV|75 pages

Interviews With Key Practitioners

chapter |3 pages


BySteve Gibson