zero-crossing now showing in the Long Gallery Hobart


This installation is the culmination of an inter-arts residency undertaken at Salamanca Arts Centre where the primary aim was to take data from wave-rider buoys in the Southern Ocean and somehow sonify and visualize that data in order to create an experience for the senses. The idea is to try and capture the awesome fluctuation (so common in natural phenomena) from pattern through turbulence into chaos. Ocean waves are periodic displacements of energy that have an amplitude and frequency in exactly the same way that sound waves do. The sounds in this installation are all sonifications of ocean wave fluctuations recorded in 1985 by the wave-rider buoy off Cape Sorrell. Though periodic, the data also contains chaotic flux, the amplitudes of the ocean waves when translated directly into sound waves produce ‘noises’ which punctuate the installation periodically in all four speakers. The melodic tones and bubbling textures that make up the underlying texture of the soundscape are all renderings of the points at which the buoys recorded movement. So the gently rising and falling melodies are all directly taken from the wave data.

The visual aspect of the work provides a constantly undulating counterpoint to the more frenetic sounding data. Two waveforms combine in laser light to produce a hypnotically slow moving shape that is projected through cellophane creating an artificial yet beautiful sense of fluid movement. The visual undulation provides the anchor from which the aural sense can take reference.

I would like to thank the Inter Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts for their ongoing support of my work, the Salamanca Arts Centre team for being so supportive and wonderful to work with and the CSIRO for making the data available.

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