Surface Tension 2.0
Returning to cymatic experimentation with much more attention to resonance and standing waves - looking for platform beat frequencies to then disrupt with data sets
"The New Aesthetic is not a movement, it is not a thing which can be done. It is a series of artefacts of the heterogeneous network, which recognises differences, the gaps in our distant but overlapping realities."
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Tank, 2008, NOMA Museum, Prospect 1, New Orleans Biennial, New Orleans, USA. Photo by Scott Saltzman
Surface Tension was the first exhibition in a continuing series of work-in-progress exhibitions featuring practice-led research in visualising data sourced from the dynamics of the local Wollongong coastal environment. The exhibition focused on mean sea level and coastal wave data combined and transposed into audio signal phasing. The audio produced was then traced in the surface waves of a built micro liquid environment. The layering of data and resultant collisions formed combinations of what in physics are known as standing, constructive, destructive and harmonic surface wave phenomena.
Surface Tension was born from investigations into concepts of physical media and signal transmission across analogue and digital modes of reproduction.The material fluidity and differences between both modes of reproduction were reflectively combined with literal and conative interpretations of key concepts from my theoretical research, including: transparency, remediation, redundancy, noise (error and glitch), time and signal degradation, analogue-digital ambiguity and concepts of fluidity and hybrid media. These concepts started as basic pointers for a necessary trajectory and not as keywords to simply ‘illustrate’ pathways in my theoretical research in a practice-led context.
The need to visualise and reproduce simple signals ‘in action’ became necessary to explore the selected theoretical pointers and set a trajectory of enquiry concerning the reproduction of digital signals within an analogue medium. The inherent qualities and elegance of water, and the translation of compression sound waves to visible surface waves, stood out amongst other material considerations. The decision led me to two precedent areas, a traditional installation art gallery context and my own past practice and sensibilities of data visualisation and information design (the desire to produce an applied design outcome has always been as strong as media art gallery output in my practical investigation)