Naar Helmholtz, door de kunstenaar Dawn Scarfe
Listening glasses, 2009 Glass sculptures and pamphlet
Each listening glass possesses its own individual frequency and by inserting the smaller, teat-like end of the glass into the ear, the user is able to search out that frequency from their soundscape, success being announced when the glass vibrates in sympathy, and sounds loudly into the ear.
Dawn's listening glasses are modelled on resonators designed by scientist Hermann Helmholtz who used them to detect musical tones in, amongst other things, the 'howling of the wind, the rattling of carriage wheels, the rustling of leaves, and the splashing of water' (Helmholtz, 1863). Working with a glass blower, Dawn produced new resonators calibrated to distinct frequencies.
These resonators render tangible - visibly as well as audibly - our sensory system's own ability to isolate individual sounds. More than this, the resonators speak to Dawn's interest in resonance as a cybernetic phenomenon where a body picks up vibrations and resounds them, a system of feedback made more compelling when we recall that it is often described as 'sympathetic.'
25/07/2009 to 15/08/2009 exhibited at Sound Escapes, SPACE, 129 - 131 Mare Street, London, E8 3RH