CYMATIC ACOUSTIC RESEARCH, 2015

Soy sauce, petri dish, speaker, tones
 Stills from cymatic testing

Stills from cymatic testing

  Diagram of hair cell location within a representational sound field

Diagram of hair cell location within a representational sound field

The sensation of hearing occurs when sound waves are converted into action potentials in a process known as mechanotransduction. We can use the properties of cymatics to represent the material properties of sound and hearing.

By placing a speaker under a dish filled with a liquid (in this case soy sauce), sound is given a form and it is easy to visualize specific tones and frequencies based off of the patterns that emerge.

This sensation occurs within us.

The movement of the sound waves causes vibrations of the structures of the inner ear, causing displacement of cochlear fluid and movement of hair cells. The movement of hair cells causes an action potential, sending positive ions as a rapid nerve impulse to our brains, alerting us that a sound was heard.

The movement of fluid within the cochlea also constitutes our vestibular system, contributing to our sense of balance, spatial orientation and coordination of movement. The intricate, invisible forces of sound waves outside of our bodies navigate the labyrinth of our inner ear and push gently on the delicate hairs and fluids. It is interesting to us how this microscopic process defines the greater

relationship of body in space. The patterns which emerge from our cymatics experiments are the unseen auditory diagrams of the world, briefly imprinted within our bodies. By scaling and abstracting this biological process, we can hope to better understand processes that even in the medical field only exist as theories. 

  The organ of corti in moments of stillness. Silence. 

The organ of corti in moments of stillness. Silence. 

  The organ of corti in moments of disturbance. Sound. 

The organ of corti in moments of disturbance. Sound.