Cymatics Visualizes Sound

November 19, 2014

We are lucky to live in a time where artists have taken up the roles of investigators of the widest imaginable range of mediums. Through endless exploration of the field of urban and contemporary art we have encountered those who create with light and shade (check out our article Shade is the Result of Light), the mesmerizing creations of artist such as BLU (read more in Confluence of Video Art and Urban Art), as well as inspiring collaborations of urban artists and respected musicians. This exploration continues - with the work of Nigel Stanford...

Nigel Stanford - Speaker Dish Experiment

What is Synesthesia?

How is one to know that the inputs we receive from reality actually coincide with what we understand about said inputs. Or, perhaps even better, what is the difference between sensation and truth? There isn’t a human being which can answer this with ease. However, there are people among us who have different experiences when it comes to perception. Synesthesia represents a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of a sensory or cognitive pathway leads to an involuntary experience in another sensory or cognitive pathway. So, for example, a synesthete can perceive letters or numbers inherently connected to a certain color, or even some spatial correlations can occur (some months of the year could evoke feeling of distance, for example). Although this phenomenon represented a significant object of scientific research in late 19th and early 20th century, the focus of scientists on the phenomenon diminished in the second half of the previous century. There are many who believe that synesthesia can ameliorate the creative process. Be that as it may, one artist found it quite inspiring

Nigel Stanford - Ruben's Tube Experiment

Amazing Methods for Artistic Expression

Nigel Stanford and a group of his collaborators used a series of interesting experiments in order to transpire sound into a visual expression of mesmerizing aesthetics. Perhaps the name of Ernst Chladni doesn’t mean much to some people, but this German physicist and musician was called the “father of acoustics.” He would use plates (today known as Chladni plates) to investigate the speed of sound which interacted with different gases. Stanford used a Chladni plate to form interesting patterns of sand and the use of, as the artist says, “odd sounds.” With the use of Heinrich Ruben’s tube, Stanford and his team created shapes of fire, not to investigate the acoustic of sound waves but to evoke imagery from sound. Just like the use of Chladni plate and Ruben’s tube, the team used an electrical resonant transformer circuit – Tesla Coil, magnetic liquid, a speaker dish, hose pipe used to manipulate water with sound, as well as playing on a plasma ball… All of this comes together to form the new music video called Cymatics…

Nigel Stanford - Tesla Coil Experiment


Cymatics represents the science of visualizing audio frequencies. Nigel Stanford and his crew decided to use real scientific experiments in order to create art. Inspired by the phenomenon of Synesthesia and the idea that people could “see sound” and “hear colors,” Nigel Stanford embarked on a long and exciting journey of creating video which reflects the concepts residing in the artist’s mind. Instead of creating a visual language through virtual reality or forms of digital expression, through the power of real experiments, Nigel Stanford created an extraordinary articulation of visualized sound…
Be sure to check out the video Cymatics and sign up for My Widewalls in order to create your own library of exciting videos!

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