douglas irving repetto

Slowscan Soundwave

custom circuitry, wood,
metal rod, spring, plastic
sheets, servo motors

In the physical world, transmutation is never perfect. Slowscan Soundwave is one in a series of pieces that attempt to create simple physical manifestations of complex physical, biological, and social phenomena.

Sound travels through open spaces via the compression and rarefaction (expansion) of air molecules. For example, as the head of a drum vibrates, it pushes and pulls at the air around it. That pushing and pulling creates areas of higher and lower air pressure, which propagate out from the source in waves. Slowscan Soundwave uses a microphone to sample the ambient air pressure in its environment. It then uses those samples to change the alignment of seventy nine suspended plastic sheets in an attempt to create a visible analog to those constantly changing pressure fronts.

Even the simplest of sounds is too complex, and changes too quickly, to be accurately represented by plastic sheets slowly moving this way and that. As a result the patterns formed by Slowscan Soundwave are a crude approximation of those formed in the air.

The goal of these pieces is not perfection or precision. I am entranced by the strange and beautiful, but often invisible, intangible, and inaudible phenomena that surround us. These pieces are an (imperfect) attempt to make those elusive phenomena more clearly perceptible.

(6.2MB Quicktime video)