Directors: Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand
Time: 47 mins
Taylor Dupree & Richard Chartier
Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand
Eye of Sound: Another essay on the eternal synesthetic dream of translating sound to image. But Domnitch's and Gelfand's project is far more ambitious, for it attempts to forfeit any representational, symbolic mode to achieve a "natural" - as far as possible - visualization of sound waves. There have been several experiments, of course, many of which artistically rewarding, but most have been focused on virtual exercises of some sort. On the contrary, Camera Lucida is presented as a "sonic observatory" in which musicians are allowed to visualize sound waves transformed in light by means of complex utilization of the natural phenomenon of sonoluminescence. The above picture of the Camera Lucida prototype depicts a transparent chamber, filled with a gas-infused liquid, on whose walls there are ultrasonic transducers that generate frequencies which are then rendered visible by the chamber's contents. A pre-made interactive composition is the chamber's sound source, by which the performer can produce and modulate sonoluminescent events after its translation into ultrasonic sound waves. Several musicians were invited to explore the Camera Lucida, producing a surprisingly diverse array of soundscapes which somehow reflect each artist's sensibilities and aesthetic inclinations. The most interesting pieces are, for my ears, Dupree's & Chartier's Specification, a calm but intense exercise on metallized artificial timbres and windy hisses, and Tietchen's Camera Lucida, with its multi-layered subtle echo palette. The remaining works manage to stand as engaging adventures with this sonic observatory, focusing on static noise, crystalline sonic-lines and decayed aural detail. The only exception is Alva Noto's Sonolumi, which somehow manages to be as boring and uninspired as most of his works - which is, perhaps, a relief: despite working within a limited set of acoustic possibilities, the Camera Lucida experience is rich, flexible and human enough to allow talent to emerge where it exists.