music on a bound string No. 2 (reflecting light), 2015

visible sound and light sculpture | installation
dimensions variable
duration 16’ loop

This work belongs to a series of musical installations reflecting upon a fundamental question:

Is the act of listening indispensable in musical experience? 

Must sound travel through the air and be perceived by our ears to become music? In search of a response, this composition experiments with inaudibility and sonic visualization. Using a loudspeaker, an audio signal excites a bound string making it display a sound wave that constantly transforms. Natural wave behaviors and properties are explored in a 16 minute musical discourse that can be seen on the undulating cord. 

Considering the visual nature of this work, light is incorporated as a structural parameter in the composition. By projecting a beam of transforming color, light and sound waves interact as they both travel through the oscillating string, unifying the sonic and the visual in a single complex vibration that allows for an examination of beautiful resonating phenomena. 

The composition consists on a musical discourse that progresses from a state of simplicity to a great degree of complexity. It starts with a simple sound wave, just two symmetric antinodes, interacting with a single light frequency, pure green. Gradually, the sound wave becomes more complex and the light beam comprised of more frequencies, to a point in which the sound shape is highly intricate and all possible colors are reflected. After this, the piece circles back to the beginning repeating in a seamless loop.

The piece is presented as a free-standing vibrational sculpture that uses mechanic (sound) and electromagnetic (light) waves as the main materials. Visitors can sit on a bench and observe how the composition unfolds, or walk around the space appreciating how reflections are perceived differently depending on the angle of view. 

Behind the sculpture, the shade of the vibrating string and the speaker are seen on a two-dimensional plane which completes and reinforces the multidimensional nature of the work: A musical piece, taking the form of a sculpture, is reflected in a bidimensional plane, encompassing the temporal, the visual and the spatial.


Special thanks: Christian Kook, technical assistance.