microcosmos, 2016

vibrational sculpture | installation
dimensions variable
duration 8’ loop

Microcosmos is a vibrational sculpture where energy is used to explore a fundamental notion: all physical bodies are perpetually vibrating, even when they appear to be perfectly still. For the piece, a cymbal is stimulated to activate the natural and characteristic patterns in which it oscillates, which are known as intrinsic resonance modes.   

Using mechanical energy, the resonance modes of the cymbal are activated audibly and visually, revealing a hidden microcosm of vibration. This becomes the material of an eight-minute, looped composition. Like many of Triana’s artworks, Microcosmos explores a foundational physical property through musical installation.

At the beginning of the piece, the cymbal vibrates in a quiet resonance mode, displaying a four-node pure [sine] wave around its contour. As the piece unfolds, it evolves through different levels of excitation, allowing the cymbal's harmonic richness to be heard and seen, unveiling its natural, internal activity. 

Behind the sculpture, the shadow of the vibrating cymbal is seen on a two-dimensional, luminous circle of projected light. This references two-dimensional art, like painting and photography, except it is animated by the cymbal’s vibration. This communicates the multidimensional nature of the piece: it is musical, sculptural, and exists on a flat plane. The work unfolds across the temporal, the visual, and the spatial.

Microcosmos illustrates the idea that everything is internally dynamic—even objects that appear to be inert. It also reflects the composer's use of her practice to penetrate and explore nature, especially its intangible aspects, in the hopes of better understanding how natural properties and behaviors are linked to the very existence and development of music and poetic expression.


Special thanks: Christian Kook, technical assistance.