Brendon Bussy

The Physical Nature of Invisible Things: “frequency, lumens, place”

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Sound by Brendon Bussy on December 31, 2012

Sound Art is a term I feel uncomfortable with. It appears to fit in neatly with the categories ‘visual art’, ‘performance art’, ‘conceptual art’, ‘installation art’. Logical enough? Except that it reinforces the notion that sound is somehow different from those other categories, that it focuses on hearing to the exclusion of other senses such as sight and touch.

During December I visited Dean Henning and Vaughn Sadie’s ‘Frequency, lumens, place’ at the GIPCA Live Art Festival 2012. The installation was a broad spectrum experience – a room filled with objects emitting light, and an invisible yet very physical noise.

frequency lumens, place Henning Sadie, GIPCA Live Art Festival 5/12/12

Vaughn Sadie’s lights are installed in stools. The lights generate a total output equal to that required for a workplace of the size of the installation space.

A few of my thoughts on the physical nature of invisible things.

Light:¬† Our senses tell us that light is physically intangible. But as we move through it, blocking, reflecting and casting shadows we experience it as a physical material (sitting on one of the installation’s illumined chairs reminded me that light produces heat).

Sound: In the same manner sound is also physically intangible. Until it finds a tangible material to shake, to vibrate until that movement is perceivable. As our ears shake we think sound. But we also think sound as our bodies; hair, bones, skin, nervous system, even the surface of our eye balls, react in response to this movement in our environment.

Two microphones and four speakers (one in each corner of the room) created a feedback loop with the source of the sound the resonant frequency of the room. Moving inbetween microphones and speakers resulted in chaotic change to the sound.

Spending time in the installation I noticed that visitors would immediately on entering started subconsciously to manipulate the sound source through body movement. Later this manipulation became conscious; moving or making a sound to trigger unpredictable change.

A primal response triggered by immersion in a rich almost liquid like experience.

More info about the installation including pics and videos

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  1. […] by listeners moving inbetween the input microphones and the four corner speakers. I recently wrote a post in which I described this piece’s primal […]


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