Escuchar con los ojos
Arte sonoro en España, 1961-2016
Fundación Juan March, Madrid
Observatory / Lisa Joy is a generative audiovisual installation created by two multidisciplinary artists, Barbara Held (USA/Spain) and Benton C Bainbridge (USA). It is currently on view as part of “Escuchar con los ojos. Arte sonoro en España, 1961-2016”, a group exhibition of Spanish Sound Art from the past half century at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid. Tones and flute from Held’s software system (coding by Ariadna Alsina) are used as control voltages to shape sinuous lines from Bainbridge’s modified videogame console.
Observatory, a sonification of helioseismological measurements, translates numeric data into another numeric structure: the overtone series of a sampled flute note, filtered and reinforced in the rhythm of the sound waves produced by solar oscillations. Like an oscillation between a microscope and a telescope, Held varies the intensity of harmonics (the building blocks of sound) to highlight the rich deep abstraction of pure tone and the immediacy of the breath, while Bainbridge’s system divides the sound into component frequencies which are visualized onto the display, creating calligraphic patterns from the same electronic signals. Observatory was first created for Bioderivas, Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Tenerife. (Data thanks to the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, audio software created by Ariadna Alsina).
Benton C Bainbridge’s Lisa Joy generates electronic drawings with an analog video synthesizer and a modified video game console. Bainbridge assembled a set of unique Eurorack modules into a custom system to create the abstract moving paintings. The lissajous patterns emerge from the relationship of 3 signals which guide the electron gun from left to right, top to bottom, and up and down in brightness. The shapes vary as the 3 waves dance in relationship to each other and the sound frequencies.