Category Archives: TEDx

Cymatics – Visualising sound, the Patterns of Nature

Following on from my last post ‘Kinetic Typography and Synesthesia in Art and Design’, I’m venturing a little further into the world of sound visualisation by looking at Cymatics – the fascinating and beautiful study of the patterns created by sound vibrations. I first came across Cymatics at the fantastic ‘Shadow Catchers‘ exhibition at the V&A Museum, where (camera-less) photographic artist Susan Derges exhibited her 1985 series “Chladni Figures”- a series of photograms (camera less photographs) produced using a process pioneered by Ernst Chladni, in which photographic emulsion sprinkled with carborundum powder is exposed to sound waves at different frequencies. The vibrations of the frequencies creates intriguing, natural symmetrical patterns which are captured in a still image by the photogram.

Evan Grant‘s brilliant TED talk ‘Making Sound Visible Through Cymatics’  is a concise yet deeply informative insight into Cymatics, discussing both practical uses and artistic qualities. Evan was the organiser of the TEDx Education Revolution which I spoke at in September and I was lucky enough to be coached by him to prepare me for my talk. He’s a really great and guy and his company, Seeper, an Arts and Technology Collective who specialise in interactive design, are always throwing themselves into exciting and adventurous new tasks in order to “capture the essence of experience”. Up to the minute with technology and design, they do some truly “wow” things, it’s well worth checking out what they’re up to.

Visual representations of sound can be seen in other media too, for example, take a look at this slo-mo footage of a water droplet at 100hz-

Or this QI feature showing the effects of putting a corn flower and water mixture in a speaker cone, quite incredible!

So, from beautiful symmetrical patterns, to strange wriggly Morph-like substance, these experiments really go to show that sound can intrigue more than one sense.

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Taking the stage at TEDx London – The Education Revolution

Back in September 2011 I had the incredible opportunity of taking the stage at TEDx London’s Education Revolution– a special event held at the Roundhouse in response to Sir Ken Robinson’s influential TED talks, bringing together those who can help to put Sir Ken’s ideas into action. I spoke about the importance of vocational education as a route to a career (particularly within the creative industries) and drew upon the industry based experiences I’ve had working with the Ideas Foundation. My fellow speakers included Sir Ken Robinson, Jude Kelly, Scott Snibbe, Ken Spours, Geoff Stead, Dougald Hine and Dan Roberts – it was an honour to share the stage with such incredible minds.

You can see my talk here-

Click here to see videos of all talks from the event and here to see the event’s photostream on Flikr. Also, be sure to take a look at Oliver Quinlan’s fantastic live blog of the day here.

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