Australian artist Andy Thomas creates what he describes as “audio life forms,” specifically 3D animations that respond to audio input. For these latest pieces he used archival bird recordings from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (in addition to one of his own recordings) to create these new digital sound sculptures that animate in different ways in reaction to the songs of each bird. Thomas uses more software tools than we could reasonably share here, but you can learn a bit more over on his website.
Swiss artist Zimoun (previously) just unveiled a large installation inside the windows of the Museo d’Arte di Lugano in Switzerland. Titled 36 Ventilators, 4.7m3 Packing Chips, the kinetic artwork relies on large fans that perpetually blow clouds of packaging peanuts against the museum’s broad windowframes. At night the effect is especially eye-popping as it appears the entire space is filled with a turbulent white sea. Via bitforms gallery:
Using simple and functional components, Zimoun builds architecturally-minded platforms of sound. Exploring mechanical rhythm and flow in prepared systems, his installations incorporate commonplace industrial objects. In an obsessive display of curiously collected material, these works articulate a tension between the orderly patterns of Modernism and the chaotic forces of life. Carrying an emotional depth, the acoustic hum of natural phenomena blends effortlessly with electric reverberation in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions.
So here’s a thing to never try at home. Derek Muller from the very fine science video blog Veritasium visits with a team of “phsyics and chemistry demonstrators” who built this ridiculous sound board that demonstrates the effect of sound waves traveling through flammable gas. The first half deals mostly with how it works, around 3:38 it turns into pure music and fire.
Nearly three years after sharing the trailer for their short film Noise, polish animators Katarzyna Kijek and Przemysław Adamski (previously here and here) have just released the full version online for the first time. The short was screened at more than 60 film festivals globally over the last few years, receiving numerous awards and accolades along the way. I won’t spoil it for you, but the innovative short explores the visualization of sound through stop motion animation. Via their website:
[Noise is] inspired by the theoretic work of George Berkeley and basics of synesthetic perception. It’s a game of imagination provoked by sound. Individual sounds penetrating into the apartment of the main character relieved of their visual designates evoke images distant from its origins.
You can see a few making of photos over on their blog. FYI: it gets a little dark.
While we’ve seen examples of objects suspended mid-air using quantum levitation and acoustic levitation, a team of three Japanese engineers from The University of Tokyo and the Nagoya Institute of Technology recently unveiled an ambitious device that uses sound waves to move objects through three dimensional space. The machine uses four arrays of speakers to make soundwaves that intersect at a focal point that can be moved up, down, left, and right using external controls. You would think such machine would be extremely loud, but according to one of the engineers the device uses ultrasonic speakers and is almost completely silent. You can read more about it right here. (via Reddit)
For Those Who See is a 2010 installation by Berlin-based artist Daniel Schulze that relies on a 7×7 grid of audio speakers to generate rings of fog that shoot upward from the device. The vortices appear for only a second or so, but are distinct enough that Schulze could then translate digital signals into fleeting visual patterns. The installation was a jury recommended work at the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival and won the audience award at the Create10 Student Design Competition.
Conceptual artist Lisa Park has been experimenting with a specialized device called a NeuroSky EEG headset that helps transform brain activity into streams of data that can be manipulated for the purposes of research, or in this case, a Fluxus-inspired performance art piece titled Euonia (Greek for “beautiful thought”). Park used the EEG headset to monitor the delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves of her brain as well as eye movements and transformed the resulting data with specialized software into sound waves. Five speakers are placed under shallow dishes of water which then vibrate in various patterns in accordance with her brain activity.
While the system is not an exact science, Park rehearsed for nearly a month by thinking about specific people whom she had strong emotional reactions to. The artist then correlated each of the five speakers with certain emotions: sadness, anger, hatred, desire, and happiness. According to the Creator’s Project her hope had been to achieve a sort of zen-like state resulting in complete silence, however it proved to be ultimately unattainable, a result that is actually somewhat poetic.