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VECTOR SYNTHESIS is an audiovisual, computational art project using sound synthesis and vector graphics display techniques to investigate the direct relationship between sound+image. It draws on the historical work of artists such as Mary Ellen Bute, John Whitney, Nam June Paik, Ben Laposky, and Steina & Woody Vasulka among many others, as well as on ideas of media archaeology and the creative re-use of obsolete technologies. Audio waveforms control the vertical and horizontal movements as well as the brightness of a single beam of light, tracing shapes, points and curves with a direct relationship between sound and image.

You can see several demo videos here:


The Vector Synthesis library allows the creation and manipulation of 2D and 3D vector shapes, Lissajous figures, and scan processed image and video inputs using audio signals sent directly to oscilloscopes, hacked CRT monitors, Vectrex game consoles, ILDA laser displays, or oscilloscope emulation softwares using the Pure Data programming environment.

During this workshop, you will learn how to use a custom library in the Pure Data programming environment to directly control the vertical and horizontal movements, as well as the brightness, of a beam of light. You will then explore Lissajous figures, waveform representations, and other multiplexed, audio-driven visual shapes and forms which can be displayed and manipulated in real time on an XY oscilloscope, Vectrex game console, ILDA laser display, and other analog vector displays, or with oscilloscope emulating software directly on your laptop.


Derek Holzer (1972) is an American instrument builder and sound artist based in Helsinki FI & Berlin DE, whose current interests include DIY analog electronics, the relationship between sound + space, media archaeology and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music. He has performed live, taught workshops and created scores of unique instruments and installations since 2002 across Europe, North and South America, and New Zealand

**Important participant info**


* Your laptop * Some sort of electronic/electroacoustic sound instrument (to input sound into the video system)

You should be able to preview your Vector Synthesis artworks in a software oscilloscope (linked below), however if you have the hardware you can look at them directly on a vector display as well. In this case, please bring the following:

* A DC-coupled soundcard such as a MOTU. * An oscilloscope with X/Y mode, a Vectrex, or other vector monitor.

Please note that neither of these things are required to take the workshop. You can check if your interface is DC-coupled on this page:


Also please do the following before the workshop:

  1. –Download and install Pure Data Vanilla 0.47.1 (32 bit version please) from here:

  1. -Once you have this installed, open the application.

On the top menu bar click “Help” and then “Find externals”.

              Type "Gem" in the search bar and install the version for your platform.
              (See attached screenshot)

Please also download and install:

  1. -Oscilloscope!
  2. -SoundFlower (Mac only)

  1. -Synchronous Audio Router (Windows only)

If you want to preview the workshop material, all the patches we will use are available here:


Folks who have not used Pure Data before may want to look through the following FLOSS Manual to get an idea of the application:

analog_vector_graphics_workshop.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/10 11:09 by