What is fascinating is that the vibration of sound according to differing frequencies can cause the most beautiful and intricate patterns in mediums such as sand or water.
Cymatics, which is the study of visible sound, was a term coined by Swiss scientist, Hans Jenny, in the 1960s whilst experimenting with the visual display of sound.
Sound would have had an influence on the core skeleton or building blocks of first cellular life
However, the study of this phenomenon goes back centuries. 17th Century polymath Robert Hooke, conducted an experiment in which he ran a stringed bow along a glass plate covered with flour. As he did so the vibrations caused the flour to arrange itself into a distinct, symmetrical pattern.
One modern day experimenter in Cymatics is creative technologist, Evan Grant. He set up an arts and technology collective called Seeper fourteen years ago, which has made interactive visual installations for festivals across the globe.
Around five years ago he stumbled across Cymatics by accident and has since incorporated into his work. Grant tells Humans Invent, “I was doing a project for an organisation called Aldeborough Music. We were having a meeting and there was a small saucer sat on the window which happened to have a bit of water in it, and there was a beam of light projecting through the window from a fan on the building opposite. That light bounced out of the saucer and created this organic projection on the wall.”
This inspired the group to come up with an installation called Standing Wave, which illustrated Cymatics in action. He says, “We built an array of speakers with a polished mirror tray on top with water in it and we had a camera tracking system that would allow people to move the vibrations in the water which in turn would cause reflections to bounce back up onto the ceiling and fill the space with this organic light show.”
Grant believes there are many practical applications for Cymatics. For example, it can help in understanding the language of dolphins. He says, “People have been using it to create a lexicon of Dolphin language by visualizing sonar beams from dolphins.”
Using a machine called a CymaScope, the various sounds a dolphin can make are translated into visual patterns allowing the different sounds to be studied pictorially and visually differentiated from each other.
Grant also believes that sound helped shaped the universe and the way our world looks today. He says, “It is based on a theory I support by a collaborator of mine called John Stuart Reid… At the time of the Big Bang, there was, quite literally, a big bang. There would have been a huge amount of noise in terms of reactions, explosions and so on.
People have been using it to create a lexicon of Dolphin language by visualizing sonar beams from dolphins
“At the same time you have the first primordial life taking shape on what would become the floors of the ocean, and if you look at what happens to a medium when you project sound onto it using Cymatics, it suggests the same thing was happening then – that sound influences the structure of all things. The idea being that if there was a lot of sound present at that time, that sound would have had an influence on the core skeleton or building blocks of first cellular life.”