sound

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Art

Beautiful Thoughts: Artist Lisa Park Manipulates Water with Her Mind

June 13, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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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 Eunoia (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.

It’s important to note that artists have long been using EEG devices to create “music with the mind”. Composer and experimental musician Alvin Lucier had a somewhat similar performance called Music for Solo Performer back in 1965. Read more about Euonia over on the Creator’s Project. (via booooooom)

 

 



Science

The Visual Patterns of Audio Frequencies Seen through Vibrating Sand

June 6, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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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.

 

 



Art

Giant New Sound Installation by Zimoun Inside an Abandoned Chemical Tank

May 29, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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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.

Update: In case you’re wondering here’s a behind-the-scenes video of how it all came together.

 

 



Science

This is What Happens When You Run Water Through a 24hz Sine Wave

March 12, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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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)

 

 



Design Music

Collect Sounds Like Fireflies in the ‘Re: Sound Bottle,’ a Device that Creates Your Own Personal Soundtrack

December 28, 2012

Christopher Jobson

The Re: Sound Bottle is the audio equivalent of running around in a field in the summer collecting fireflies in a jar. Designed by Jun Fujiwara from Tama Art University, the bottle is simple in its usage but absurdly complex in its design which relies heavily on software to handle the recording, storing, and playback of audio tracks. To use it you simply uncork the device and if sound is present it immediately snaps into recording mode. As you record more individual sounds, an audio database is formed and tracks are automatically selected to create rhythmic tracks, essentially like a miniature robot DJ in a jar. To listen, you again uncork the top and wait for your personal soundtrack to play. Jun says he hopes the Re: Sound Bottle (still just a concept) will help people interact more directly with music by recording the audio from their daily life. The bottle won a special judge’s prize at the 2012 Mitsubishi Chemical Junior Designer Awards earlier this year. (via jason sondhi)

 

 



Amazing

Soundlapse by Fruit Bonus

September 25, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Using audio samples recorded from around their office, Chicago-based filmmaking team Fruit Bonus made this slick promotional clip. What a great way to show off their chops and give you an idea of what they do, so the next time you need an awesome video and some ace kalimba playing, you know where to go. Don’t you kind of wish it kept going for another minute? (thnx, amanda!)

 

 



Art

Zimoun: 138 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes

May 12, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Swiss sound sculptor Zimoun (previously) just updated with this new installation in Bergen, Norway. Of all his works of the past few years this is by far one of my favorites. There’s something about the hypnotic motion of the cotton balls and the imposing grid of cardboard boxes that makes me wish I was standing in that room. See his constantly updated compilation video here.