Photography is a window on the world and for this reason it contains every other art form. It includes poetry, music, dance. With this project I wanted to investigate the relations between photography, sounds and movements and to do so I used cymatic.

Cymatic is the study of wave phenomena and examines the connection between sound, vibrations and physical reality.

In the late 700’s a physicist and musician called Erns Chladni invented a technique to show the various modes of vibration on a rigid surface. Starting with a metal plate whose surface had been sprinkled with sand, he found that bowing it produced characteristic patterns. “Chladni’s Plates”, as they came to be called, provided a way to visualize the effects of vibrations on a surface. 

Now a more modern version of his invention can be built using a speaker, an amplifier and a frequency generator. Every frequency generates a different pattern that can be visualized through the movement of the sand or a liquid. The following video better explains the process

Devices for displaying frequency patterns have influenced visual arts and contemporary music but, as far as I know, a photo has never been used as the actual surface on which the sand vibrates.

The printed picture is of course made of paper therefore the vibration doesn’t resonate as strongly as on a metal surface, but for this reason I find the final result fascinating.

First, I had to build the Chladni plate using a speaker, an amplifier, a frequency generator program and a metal sheet. That was much more difficult than expected (especially considering that I have no electrical knowledge whatsoever) but surprisingly I made it work.

I tried different type of prints and several kinds of sands until I found the right combination.

I decided to use photographs of myself dancing in front of a white background. I wanted to include music and movements also in the shooting process.

Once I’ve placed the prints on the metal plate, I noticed how the pictures was actually taking part in the formation of the pattern. Being a bad conductor, it’s like the print itself had a saying in how the sand had to arrange. The picture took an active role in the project and the sand pattern is actually created by both the frequency and the photograph.

The final result is a photograph that physically created itself combining sound and image.