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.
Youtube user Brusspup (previously here and here) who often explores the intersection between art and science just released this new video featuring the Chladni plate experiment. First a black metal plate is attached to a tone generator and then sand is poured on the plate. As the speaker is cycled through various frequencies the sand naturally gravitates to the area where the least amount of vibration occurs causing fascinating geometric patterns to emerge. There’s actually a mathematical law that determines how each shape will form, the higher the frequency the more complex the pattern.
Prolific sound artist Zimoun (previously here and here) has completed work on what may be his most ambitious project ever, a towering sound installation inside an abandoned toluene tank in Dottikon, Switzerland. The permanent installation uses 329 of the artist’s trademark prepared dc-motors and cotton balls that have been affixed to the inner tank walls, and relied on contributions from Hannes Zweifel Architecture, Davide Groppi, and many others. The result is a whirring, rhythmic soundscape that is completely camouflaged within an old factory. Via Zimoun’s artist statement:
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 simple and functional materials, 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 in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions effortlessly reverberates.
Zimoun has completed several additional installations in the last few months, all of which can been seen on his website.
What!? How is this even possible? Because science, my friends. Brusspup’s (previously) latest video explores what happens when a stream of water is exposed to an audio speaker producing a loud 24hz sine wave. If I understand correctly the camera frame rate has been adjusted to the match the vibration of the air (so, 24fps) thus creating … magic zigzagging water. Or something. Here’s a little more detail:
Run the rubber hose down past the speaker so that the hose touches the speaker. Leave about 1 or 2 inches of the hose hanging past the bottom of the speaker. Secure the hose to the speaker with tape or whatever works best for you. The goal is to make sure the hose is touching the actual speaker so that when the speaker produces sound (vibrates) it will vibrate the hose.
Set up your camera and switch it to 24 fps. The higher the shutter speed the better the results. But also keep in the mind that the higher your shutter speed, the more light you need. Run an audio cable from your computer to the speaker. Set your tone generating software to 24hz and hit play. Turn on the water. Now look through the camera and watch the magic begin. If you want the water to look like it’s moving backward set the frequency to 23hz. If you want to look like it’s moving forward in slow motion set it to 25hz.
Brusspup did a similar experiment last year where it looked as if the water was flowing in reverse. Can somebody please make a water fountain that does this or would we all be deaf? (via stellar)