Friday, November 14, 2014

The beauty of sound waves.

As I was browsing through some mesmerizing attempts of visualizing sound waves, the feeling of excitement that I get when I feel I want to share my discoveries here, has finally been awakened again. This feeling has been asleep for some months now and it felt so good to have it back. So lets start with the ride.

"))))) repetition at my distance" is an installation piece by an artist Gabey Tjon a Tham in which she represents her own interpretation of sound waves that she transforms into twists of blue lights.


The piece is composed of sixteen rotating vertical light wires that carry the patterns through the space as audio plays in the background. The beautiful part is that the streams of light respond to increasing and decreasing vibrations of air that comes out of the speakers.

Photographer Fabian Oefner had a more direct approach in visualizing sound waves but as equally mesmerizing as Gabey Tjon a Tham's piece. His project is called "Dancing Colors".


Fabian placed hundreds of colorful tiny crystals on thin plastic foil which he mounted on top of the membrane of a common speaker. Once the sound was played through the speaker, the vibrations would make the crystals start "dancing", forming different shapes, depending on the frequency, pitch and volume of the tone. These figures are formed and last for just a split of a second which Fabian manages to capture.

All this led to a magnificent discovery of power of sound waves which I wasn't aware of until now: Sonoluminescence. Practically it is the production of light from sound. This phenomena was first discovered in 1934. but up to today is a mystery since no one can explain why it happens. The process occurs when an underwater bubble collapses with a sound wave. In that second a beautiful star-like glowing light is produced. What is fascinating about this phenomena is the temperature that collapsing bubble reaches. Scientists suggest it might be up to 10 times hotter than the surface of the Sun. (!)