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Themesicon: navigation pathSound and Imageicon: navigation pathSound & Vision

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was possible to achieve a close, direct interplay between image and sound, as both are just electronic signals. Sound technology has been ahead of video technology, however, since the beginning of the electronic era. The reason for this is simple: a sound signal needs much less information than a video signal. That is why radio came before television, tape recorders came before video recorders, audio CDs came before DVDs. This technical lead still affects art today.

Avant-garde and mainstream since the 1990s

Since the 1990s, visual and acoustic culture and their respective media have been closely interrelated. (see text «Image-Sound-Relations» by Golo Foellmer/Julia Gerlach) This is because of the synthesis between image and sound technology when working digitally, which also makes the avantgarde's time lead over the mainstream shorter and shorter. Music exploited digital possibilities fully in both high and popular culture long before visual art. This is why electronic New Music developed a decade before video art and why there were DJs years before VJs. When looking back at the


period from 1950 onwards it is possible to say: sound is the image's technical avantgarde. On the other hand, the context of fine art turned out to be more tolerant and open to the processualization and participation involved in the ‹open work of art› created by Fluxus and Happenings, and their continuation in media art. This is why today the category of media art is treated above all as part of art history and less of music history. The new type of artist placed between music and painting that Ruttmann was waiting for even in 1920 no longer has any lack of technical opportunities—they are available courtesy of the digital flood. But artists are never satisfied with what the industry offers them in terms of hardware and software. The DJ pioneers and sound artists built their own tools and wrote their own programs, and so do the VJs and some media artists.

Visual and acoustic teamwork does feature in artistic practice, but it is not always free of hierarchies (see text by Stephen Vitiello). In the pop context the music dominates: the popular video clips illustrate the rhythm and the storyline of the music. In a club the DJ is the boss, the VJ tries to follow the

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