Good Vibrations

The work on our installation for this year’s Glastonbury Festival continues with a brand new surprise feature being created. We have used the science of Cymatics to create a feature that uses sound and light waves to create a visually unique experience for its audience. IMG_2316

We started by making a large concrete bowl with a hole in the bottom through which we placed a speaker.

The speaker will produce low frequency sound, between 10 and 100 Hertz. These low frequencies will cause the speaker to oscillate backwards and forwards at different rates depending on the frequency.

 

 

 

 

We also left holes for lights to later be installed at the bottom of the bowl around the speaker. We then had to make the whole thing watertight so that we could safely submerge the speaker in water.

IMG_2321
Our first prototype. Unfortunately we had to scrap this attempt and start again. The depth of the water put too much weight on the speaker causing it to slightly explode!

The vibrations from the speaker will move the water above it and cause it to vibrate at the same frequency.

 

Getting the right depth of water is important. Too shallow means we won’t get the effect we want. Too deep and the weight of the water on the speaker will cause a build up of trapped energy from the compressed vibrations to escape through the bottom of the speaker, blowing the speaker out. Something we learned the hard way!

The water moves in waves out from the speaker to the sides of the bowl where it bounces and starts to move back to the centre, colliding with new waves travelling out.

IMG_2324This collision of opposing waves creates an interference pattern which changes depending on the frequency of the sound being produced by the speaker.

Lower frequencies produce larger, slower movements meaning subtler interference patterns.

Higher frequency waves  produce greater, more intricate interference patterns.

The next stage is to introduce light waves into the equation by lighting the interference pattern from below.

IMG_2340The light waves pass through the peaks and troughs of the interference pattern, creating different frequencies of light due to the different lengths the light has to travel to pass through the surface of the water.

When you look at the water from the surface you should see slightly different tones of colour in the light passing through the interference pattern.

The result should be a moving pattern of light on the surface of the water that reacts with the sound passing through it.

The light pattern will also be reflected on to any objects around the feature as the water amplifies the light outwards.

We will install this feature at Glastonbury with planting hanging over it and where people can get close enough to see the light reflected onto them and the plants around them.

This feature can create a visual effect to accompany any music or sound wave that can be fed through it, a perfect display for an event like Glastonbury.

Check out our Facebook page to see video clips of the feature in action. And keep a look out for updates on our work in the run up to Glastonbury.

 

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