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)