spectra

2022

fresnel lens, white light, stepper motors, speakers, rimu

Spectra is a mechatronic audiovisual work that explores the materiality of the audiovisual medium by investigating the intersections of sound and light. Spectra adds to an ongoing discourse around the emergent field of physical audiovisual works, contrasting the dominantly screen-based works that are often conceptualised and discussed as audiovisual. 

The work physically explores audiovisuality by investigating the commonalities of light and sound spectra, and how their respective spectra can be manipulated and controlled. The work features an array of modules, each with a fresnel lens, a mechatronic assemblage, a speaker, and a light source. In each module, pure white light is passed through the flexible fresnel lens which focuses light. A stepper motor attaches to one end of the lens, deforming it through rotation. As the lens is deformed and manipulated, it deconstructs the spectrum of white light, scattering it across space by creating chromatic aberrations. The nature of each aberration is driven by an audiovisual relationship, with each module using a sine tone to control the behaviour of its mechatronic assemblage. 

Together, the array creates a rich harmonic spectrum, with each of its partials made visible through its audiovisual representation. In doing so, the spectral qualities of sound are imposed onto light, allowing for a physical interplay of audiovisuality.

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