Watch Elsa Garmire’s Pioneering Laser Show from 1972 #MusicMonday
Forget that cheesy Pink Floyd stuff from the planetarium. Scientist Elsa Garmire used optic chops to make lasers into a real instrument – and her work holds up today….
What’s telling is, it took an optical scientist and physicist to push the medium aesthetically. So even though Dr. Garmire was at a center that brought together engineers and artists – the legendary Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) – it was really her deep knowledge of how the technology worked that drove her to make something aesthetic, even when others were not.
As she told Science & Film:
“There was a standard way of putting X-Y mirrors on the laser and getting what us scientist’s call Lissajous figures, which are sort of ovals. You can get lots of ovals of different sizes, moving in different directions, and you can run them with music and get a kind of wild pattern that to me has no aesthetic value at all.”
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