Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane

Curator and archivist Cindy Keefer is the director of Center for Visual Music (CVM).

Born in Chicago and raised in the Bay Area, Jordan Belson trained as a painter before turning his attention to filmmaking after discovering the abstract films of Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, and Hans Richter at the seminal Art in Cinema series. Since 1947, Belson has explored consciousness, transcendence, and the nature of light itself in a visionary body of work that has been called “cosmic cinema”-brimming with vibrant color, mandalas, liquid forms, and mesmerizing rhythms. Starting in 1957, Belson collaborated with sound artist Henry Jacobs on the “Vortex Concerts,” multimedia events that combined new electronic music from around the world with Belson's visual effects projected on the interior of the sixty-five-foot dome of the California Academy of Science's Morrison Planetarium. This program features rarely screened films including Séance (1959), new preservation prints of Momentum (1968) and Chakra (1972), and Epilogue (2005), a distillation of sixty years of visionary images synchronized to a symphonic tone poem by Rachmaninoff, and more.

Caravan 1952, 4 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Séance 1959, 3 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Allures Sound by Belson, Henry Jacobs, 1961, 8 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Momentum 1968, 6 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Chakra Sound by Belson, 1972, 6 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Light Sound by Belson, 1973, 6 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Cycles With Stephen Beck, 1974, 10 mins, Color, 16mm, From CVM.

Music of the Spheres 1977/abridged version 2002, 7 mins, Color, 16mm transferred to DigiBeta, From CVM.

Epilogue 2005, 12 mins, Color, DigiBeta, From CVM. Commissioned for the Visual Music exhibition by The Hirshhorn Museum, with the support of the NASA Art Program and CVM.

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