Painting frequencies with Speakerhead

Frequency painting is among the many fascinating topics up for discussion in the Speakerhead series at Beakerhead this weekend.

Artist Gary James Joynes whose audio/image sound wave installation 12 Tones is showing at the Epcor Centre’s Arts Learning Centre until September 29 will talk about the visualization of sound and his exploration of resonant frequencies at an event co-presented by Fast Forward Weekly on Saturday September 14.

Joynes who also goes by Clinker was inspired by the work of Swiss scientist Dr. Hans Jenny on Cymatics or the science of visual sound. Jenny discovered that sounds can be shown with images by pushing waves into particulate material.

For example when vibrating metal plates are used to find resonant frequency it can move sand. “It will push the sand and reveal its wave shape — it’s a visualization of what the sound waves actually look like” Joynes says.

He took that concept a number of steps further and developed a technique that refined the system so he can actually create meticulously drawn images.

During a residency at The Banff Centre in 2009 Joynes experimented with the concept in a basement studio and came out with 144 images. “They are visualizations of actual sound” he explains.

The 12 Tones exhibition features 12 high-res images and each image has its own sound frequency. Joynes says the volume rises and falls very slowly and changes as people move through the space based on their proximity. “It becomes this completely ambient revolving soundscape that never repeats” he adds.

For Joynes who has a background in visual arts and music the project satisfied a longtime goal. “For years I was really trying to connect sound and visual together” he says.

Joynes will give a presentation at 4 p.m. followed by a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Upper Centre Court of the Epcor Centre .