The study of the senses has become a rich topic in recent years. Senses of Vibration explores a wide range of sensory experience and makes a decisive new contribution to this growing field by focussing not simply on the senses as such, but on the material experience – vibration – that underpins them.
This is the first book to take the theme of vibration as central, offering an interdisciplinary history of the phenomenon and its reverberations in the cultural imaginary. It tracks vibration through the work of a wide range of writers, including physiologists (who thought vibrations in the nerves delivered sensations to the brain), physicists (who claimed that light, heat, electricity and other forms of energy were vibratory), spiritualists (who figured that spiritual energies also existed in vibratory form), and poets and novelists from Coleridge to Dickens and Wells. Senses of Vibration is a work of scholarship that cuts through a range of disciplines and will reverberate for many years to come.
Senses of Vibration
A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound
By: Shelley Trower
For the first time in history individual piano notes have been made visible using the CymaScope instrument. The piano notes were painstakingly recorded by Evy King and then fed into the CymaScope one by one and the results recorded in high definition video. Click HERE to see sound.
Shannon Novak, a New Zealand-born fine artist, commissioned us to image 12 piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. We decided to image the notes in video mode because when we observed the ‘A1’ note we discovered, surprisingly, that the energy envelope changes over time as the string’s harmonics mix in the piano’s wooden bridge. Instead of the envelope being fairly stable, as we had imagined, the harmonics actually cause the CymaGlyphs to be wonderfully dynamic. Our ears can easily detect the changes in the harmonics and the CymaScope now reveals them–probably a first in acoustic physics.
Capturing the dynamics was only possible with HD video but taming the dynamics of the piano’s first strike, followed by the short plateau and long decay phase, was tricky. We achieved the result with the help of a professional audio compressor operating in real time.
The Cymascope is an instrument that makes sound or music visible, creating detailed 3D impressions of sound or music vibrations. Here the rapidly expanding sphere is captured in a frozen moment. The interior reveals a beautiful and complex structure representing the rich harmonic nature of violin music.
I am a multi media Canadian artist who is interested in language and communication; how knowledge is transported and transcribed between humans and other species. I am interested in inter species communication. I have chosen to sculpt and draw collaboratively with the honeybees for the past 14 years. My research has included the bee’s use of sound, sight, scent, vibration, and dance. I am studying the bee’s use of the earth’s magnetic fields as well as their use of the pheromones (chemicals) they produce to communicate with one another, with other species and possibly with the foliage they pollinate.
My research has included residencies in The Netherlands: To research the bees and flowers of The Netherlands; The Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Britain: To sculpt in the park under the direction of 2 beekeepers and their feral bee swarms, and at Passages Centre d’art Contemporain, Troyes, France: to visit the ancient bee walls of France, to meet with Dr. Yves Le Conte, scientist in Avignon, France and to work for 3 months in a studio in Troyes, France.
The bee work can take years to complete due to a short summer bee-keeping season of 7-9 weeks a year. I spend the rest of the year researching, traveling, and preparing work for the next bee-keeping season.”
Centered around a display featuring a living beehive, Guest Workers features sculptural and 2-dimensional work based on collaboration between the artist and honeybees. Directed and shot by Millefiore Clarkes, 2011.
ZVO.ČI.TI. so.und.ing Collection is a podcast collection of Slovenian sound artists, composers of electroacoustic, experimental, algorithmic, electronic, improvised and composed works.
The DVD release of the ZVO.ČI.TI so.und.ing Collection represents the final part of the multi-year project devised to be a continuous production of thematic radio and podcast audio programmes about specific authors and works of theirs that were created in the studio or performed live.
The purpose of the project is to connect and highlight Slovenian authors who make contemporary music in the music performance, sound, intermedia, performing, online and other areas and to present them, using existing communication possibilities, into the wider arena of world contemporary sound creativity.
Sound is ubiquitous and permanent, and embraces us as an envelope. Therefore, the experience of the auditory can be considered an environmental experience par excellence. The term and concept of soundscape reflects this idea. It implies, that sounds do not exist in isolation, and have to be understood as being embedded in and interacting with other sounds and perceptions coining the perceptional abilities of individuals and societies and their social relations: soundscape is a system in which all elements are interdependent.
No sound exists on its own: The Global Composition
Considering the world’s objects as instruments, its inhabitants as their players and all sounds on the globe taking place simultaneously, leads to the imagination of a global composition. Any audible phenomenon is part of this huge ongoing concert which includes all living beings and unites them in – mostly unintentional and uncoordinated – collaboration. Soundmakers, listeners and those, requesting sounds as a commodity, are part of a system and often one and the same person.
The Global Composition
Cubelets are magnetic blocks that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior. But instead of programming that behavior, you snap the cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like with a flock of birds or a swarm of bees.
Each cubelet in the kit has different equipment on board and a different default behavior. There are Sense Blocks that act like our eyes and ears, Action blocks, and Think blocks. Just like with people, the senses are the inputs to the system.
Sahel Sounds: This little cassette of music collected from cellphones has been in internet circulation lately (update — and the Guardian UK). Pitchfork did a nice write-up on the phenomena of “musical scarcity”, Rupture at Mudd Up! has given it some blog/radio play, and Portland’s own Gulls put together this remix of one of the tracks:
Niger Autotune (Emsitka) — Gulls Edit
Boomarm Nation: In 2010 returning from extensive travel in Mali and Mauritania, Chris Kirkley (Sahel Sounds) presented “Music from Saharan Cellphones”. The music on the compilation was collected from cellphones in the Northern Malian town of Kidal. In much of West Africa, cellphones are are used as all-purpose multimedia devices. In lieu of personal computers and high speed internet, cellphones house portable music collections, playback songs on tiny built-in speakers, and swap files through peer-to-peer Bluetooth wireless transfer. The songs collected in Kidal range from DIY Tuareg guitar, auto-tuned Moroccan chaabi, Malian coupé décalé, and fruityloop hip hop. Originally released as a limited run cassette tape by Mississippi Records in Portland OR, the cassette was uploaded to blogs and online media hubs, and quickly became a viral source of new and inspiring sounds.
On Oct.10 2011 Boomarm Nation and Sahel Sounds present: “Music For Saharan Cellphones”. Drawing on gifted producers and musicians from a variety of stylistic backgrounds and nationalities, each artist selected and re-interpreted a musical moment from the source material. From bass laden sound/clash ventures, abstract re-creations, and even an amazing autotune cover, the end result holds a rich assortment of well informed musical statements. Reflecting the energy and fidelity of its origins, these versions take on their own rare and exciting form. Using the mp3 as the medium, the Music and the Musicians become the diplomacy.