Camera Lucida: Sonochemical Observatory

Yesterday we had the opening of the Camera Lucida installation by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand as part of the Exposing Cinema: The Speed of Light program of the International Film Festival Rotterdam at V2_.
From the description:

Here, gaseous micro-bubbles injected within a fluid medium are blasted with ultrasound causing them to implode, at which point they become as hot as the sun and release light energy in the form of sound waves. By modulating, or ‘playing’ the ultrasonic transducers attached to the glass chamber an ever-changing sonochemical environment, visible only within a sheath of extreme darkness, emerges. Theories for the cause of the glow from the collapsing bubbles are still the realm of exploratory and to some extent speculative physics ranging in abstract theories from black-body radiation and plasma ionization to quantum vacuum fluctuations. The Camera Lucida: Sonochemical Observatory creates a rare opportunity, as a powerful aural and visual experience, to encounter this volatile phenomenon outside the confines of highly specialized sonochemical laboratories.

The sound waves that are able to cause this effect start somewhere from >20KHz so outside the audible range. In the Sphere is a little piezo microfone that records the soundwaves which are further processed down to the audible spectrum which makes it possible to hear what is going on inside the sphere. A nice effect is a clustering of light patterns around the piezo caused by the piezo resonating at the same frequency as the soundwaves it records.

If in Rotterdam the coming two weeks, go have a look it is quite a special experience.


5 Responses to “Camera Lucida: Sonochemical Observatory”

  1. I just went to see it! It’s beautiful, but I don’t quite get it.. How is it interactive?

  2. Depends on the level of interaction you are looking at.
    It is not interactive as in interacting with the beholder. There is a lot of interaction going on between the soundwaves and gas/liquids etc though. But you might not want to call that interactive?

  3. hmmm…in the abstract is says: “The project was conceived both as an artwork and as a musical instrument that allows its player to see and shape sounds while moving through space”.
    maybe i should go again and move more?

  4. Is that the right abstract? I haven’t read anything about it being interactive in that sense (also the term observatory contradicts here). Or i must have completely missed it.

  5. I was quoting the second part in the abstract.. It’s on the reader at the expo. Ah was beautiful anyway ;-)

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