Tim Knapen Work Contact
Evil Eye Records x
Evil Eye Records, 2012

The Evil Eye project is the result of a residency we did at the Frans Masereel Center, a center for printmaking in Kasterlee, Belgium.

During the residency we printed optical audio records. We created visual patterns and silkscreened them on heavy paper. Then we handed them out in bars and on the local market in Kasterlee. On the last day of our stay at the center we did a short performance where local people were invited to play the records we designed on our home-made optical record players.

The records were only played during this performance. Afterwards, the sounds were still contained in the record, but it became impossible to extract them again. When people returned home from the Masereel Center, their records became again just prints, with a memory of the event and their sounds attached to them.

Technically, the project is very straightforward. There's no conversion between the printed patterns and the sounds they make, it's truly one-to-one. We didn't want to make prints that need some extra information to become sound. We really wanted to have all the sound inside the prints. This means there is no synthesizer or any other digital technology involved in translating the prints to sound.

When you put one of the records on the record player the rotating patterns of the prints create modulating light that is translated into an electric signal by the eye. This signal is fed into a guitar amplifier and comes out as the exact sound that is embedded in the prints.

In collaboration with Andreas Depauw and Steven Holsbeeks at indianen.

With the kind support of Frans Masereel Center

Evil Eye performance:
Thursday June 28th 2012, 22h00
Frans Masereel Center, Kasterlee, Belgium.

More Images: 


Grasnapolsky, Radio Kootwijk, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
The Backroom, Design Vlaanderen Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Druck Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Festivaaalllaallal 2012, Scheld’Apen, Antwerp, Belgium


1. Tone Wheels

Soviet artist Arseny Avraamov produced the first hand-drawn motion picture soundtracks. This was achieved by means of shooting still images of drawn sound waves on an animation stand. (from umatic.nl)


2. Oskar Fischinger

Oskar Fischinger (22 June 1900 – 31 January 1967) was a German-American abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter, notable for creating abstract musical animation many decades before the appearance of computer graphics and music videos. 

Oskar Fishinger writes in 1932: "If you look at a strip of film from my experiments with synthetic sound, you will see along one edge a thin stripe of jagged ornamental patterns. These ornaments are drawn music -- they are sound: when run through a projector, these graphic sounds broadcast tones or a hitherto unheard of purity, and thus, quite obviously, fantastic possibilities open up for the composition of music in the future." more at center for visual music.

3. Optical sound tracks in film

Optical sound is a means of storing sound recordings on transparent film. Originally developed for military purposes, the technology first saw widespread use in the 1920s as a sound-on-film format for motion pictures. Optical sound eventually superseded all of other sound film technologies until the advent of digital sound became the standard in cinema projection booths.

Most of the inventions that led to optical sound-on-film technology employed the use of an electric lamp, called an exciter, shining through a translucent waveform printed on the edge of a film strip. When the light shines through the film, it is read by a photo-sensitive material and fed through a processor that converts the photovoltaic impulse into an electrical signal that is then amplified and converted into analogue sound waves through a speaker.

4. Mariska de Groot

Mariska de Groot is a Dutch artist who makes and performs comprehensive analog light-to-sound instruments and installations which explore the phenomena and history of optical sound. Her work often has a reference to media inventions from the past.

Mariska de Groot on Vimeo