Tuesday, June 10, 2008

when filmmakers write poems, make charts, and connect words and colors...

eisenstein diagram

a theory of ocular music

words: sadly she wandered, loveliest of maidens...
music: the notes of a flute, plaintive.
color: olive, mixed with pink and white.

words: ... in flowery meadows -
music: gay, rising tones.
color: green, mixed with violet and daisy yellow.

words: singing a song, joyful as a lark.
music: soft notes, rising and gently falling in quick succession.
color: dark blue streaked with scarlet and yellowish green

words: and god, in the temple of creation, hears her.
music: majestic grand.
color: a mixture of the most splendid colors - blue, red, and green - glorified with the yellow of the dawn and purple - dissolving into soft green and pale yellow.

words: the sun rises over the mountains...
music: a majestic bass, from which middle tones rise imperceptibly!
color: bright yellows, mixed with the color of the dawn - dissolving into green and whitish yellow.

words: and shines upon the violet in the valley...
music: softly, descending tones.
color: violet, alternating with varied greens.

"a little poem, which i accompany with my color music" by sergei eisenstein from "the film sense". the poem is followed by "this should be sufficient to prove that colors also hold the power of expressing the emotions of the soul"; and comes from a wonderful chapter about the "synchronization of the senses", reflecting on the relationship of rimbaud's vowel colors to the phonetic color equivalents of rene ghil to goethe and lewis caroll. it's a great text on the collision of words and color.

"just as tones of music must harmonize with the playwright's words in a melodrama, so must colors likewise correspond with the words".

the image is from a large fold out at the back of the book, where eisenstein shows a kind of synaesthetic chart of activities of various frame sequences from alexander nevsky including music, motion, time, and image.

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