Kymatik-Cymatics  -  Sound Figures

When the natural scientist Ernst F.F. Chladni (who lived during the time of Goethe 1756-1827) used a violin bow to vibrate glass plates covered with fine sand and in so doing discovered what were named after him as the "Chladni sound figures", the formative force of vibration and sound, which had been recorded in so many old myths of the Creation and which was spoken about by so many philosophers of nature, became perhaps for the first time ever a phenomenon directly accessible to our senses.

enlargement please click!

During the nineteen sixties and seventies, the Swiss doctor, Hans Jenny, managed to considerably expand this approach with new test conditions and through the use of a very wide range of materials and, in particular, by extending the method to encompass vibrating fluids. He was therefore able to display numerous fascinating images of the sound figures which he combined under the name of "Kymatics" (from the Greek "to kyme" - the wave).

By continuing this work, I am most especially interested in a phenomenology and typography of the shapes formed by vibration and sound and in the issues of morphogenesis, the shaping processes which occur in nature.

Having spent many years studying the "Chladni sound figures", i.e. the interaction between individual tones and a very wide range of vibrating metal plates which appears in the sand line images as a type of "sound hieroglyhics", I then moved on to considering the effects of more complex sounds and moving music in water, a mediumm which is exceedingly receptive and which responds in a very sensitive manner. During this part of my work, all the sound vibrations were transferred into the water by a vessel to enable the continually penetrating and superimposed waves to create numerous impressive structures and water-sound images in the water and on its surface. These structures and images are then displayed using special reflections of light and can be photographed or filmed.