Week 7: experiments (and failures)

cymatics box & frame1

This week I’ve been in the university workshop trying to make a cymatics soundbox. I downloaded instructions from the internet, ordered the latex on line from a fetish site, dusted off an old amplifier and together with the wonderful Visual Arts technician Mark Searle, began to construct the box.

The first experiment with sound and paper pulp failed. There was no direct contact with the sound vibrations. No beautiful pattern formed, not even any movement in the water.  Back to the drawing board. After much head scratching we got to the “bucket” design. Securing a bucket over the circular amplifier speaker then applying a pressure frame to the latex allowed for a better contact. Turned the power on, plugged in the ipad and played some music with a heavy bass beat for the first trial. The watery pulp bubbled up like little mini geysers dancing in the air. But no geometric pattern. I’ll keep experimenting with other materials like sand to see if I can at least create a small pattern from the paper making sounds I’ve recorded.

Meanwhile I’ve been having fun learning coptic bookbinding, and have made my first banana paper coptic stitched book. I’m going to start drawing in it soon…but it’s so lovely just feeling the papers running through my hands that I have left it on my workroom table to admire. It sits there in splendid silence, the marks conspicuous in their absence.

I have been reading about the absence of sound in sound artist/musician John Cage’s silence compositions. Silence is used as a pause in time duration, but in the silence there is a presence when something else is there but is not sound. Its how I feel about my blank pages, the beautiful absence and presence of silent banana paper.

coptic book2

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