Simple Harmonic Motion (2013)

Simple Harmonic Motion #9 (2013)

Available to purchase on seditions here.

 

Simple Harmonic Motion #8 (2013)

Available to purchase on seditions here.

 

Simple Harmonic Motion #6 (WIP proof of concept) (2012)

 

Simple Harmonic Motion #5 (2011)

Available to purchase on seditions here.

More documentation and exhibition information on project page

 

Simple Harmonic Motion #3 (2011)

 

Simple Harmonic Motion #2 (2011)

Available to purchase on seditions here.

 

Simple Harmonic Motion #1 (2011)

 

Exhibitions

 

The following video was inspiration for the first incarnation:

 

Simple Harmonic Motion is an ongoing research and series of projects investigating complexity from simplicity – specifically the emergence of complex behaviour through the interaction of simple multilayered rhythms. It is inspired by natural and mathematical phenomena, as well as works by the likes of Norman Mclaren, John Whitney, Steve Reich, John Cage, Gyorgi Ligeti and Edgar Varèse.

Both images and sounds are driven by the same mathematical principles and algorithm. While this underlying fundamental principle – the fourier series – is a purely abstract mathematical theorem, it is also responsible for our understanding of almost every aspect of the physical, biological and social world; including acoustics, economics, quantum mechanics, predicting earthquakes, protein structures, DNA, composition of distant stars and galaxies and even uncovering counterfeit Jackson Pollock paintings.

The Simple Harmonic Motion series of works transposes the invisible elegance found in these abstract mathematical equations, driving almost every aspect of our lives, to a medium we can see, hear and feel.

Through the use of custom software, a number of ‘agents’ are created and assigned a simple behaviour, a repetitive pattern of movement and sound. On their own, each agent is monotonous and mechanical, acting completely unaware of their neighbours and ‘the bigger picture’. However the interaction of the different agent’s behaviours create complex, rich, evolving behaviours and compositions – both visually and sonically.

Our capability in recognising patterns sonically is very different to our capability in recognising patterns visually. On the whole (excluding exceptions), people tend to be more spatially sensitive with their visual perception, while they are more temporally sensitive with their aural perception. I.e. it is easier for most of us to estimate where and how far away something is by seeing it, as opposed to just hearing it. However we are sonically more temporally sensitive, both on a macro scale (e.g. it is easier for most of us to detect whether a pulse is exactly on a beat accurate to a few milliseconds by hearing a repetitive sound, compared to seeing a flashing image) and also on a micro scale (e.g. it is difficult for most of us to detect an exact doubling of frequency in light waves – i.e. hue shift; however an exact doubling of frequency in sound waves – i.e. an octave transpose – is relatively realistic for many humans to detect). By translating patterns between visual and sonic domains; and between spatial and temporal axes, we are able to recognize and realize interesting new relationships previously unnoticed.

By abstracting, emphasising and amplifying the beautiful complex patterns created from the interaction of simple harmonic motion at different frequencies, the project aims to share the enthusiasm, excitement and fascination I personally feel from such observations in nature and fundamental physical and mathematical phenomena. Ultimately hoping to encourage and inspire others to look at the world around them in more detail, with a more interrogatory approach; most importantly learning to find fascination in what they normally would not even have looked at; and even leading them to do more research along similar lines; hopefully in turn encouraging and inspiring others.

A number of these works are available to purchase at seditionart.com/memo-akten/collection/simple-harmonic-motion