Sonic Water – Cymatics Makes Audio Visible

This video documents Sonic Water -a cymatics installation.

Cymatics is the process of visualizing sound and vibrations.

According to Sonic Water creators Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen, “The reason cymatics exerts such a strong fascination is that we are not conditioned to ‘see sound’. Cymatics is like a magic tool that unveils the true substance of things audible, but conventionally invisible.”

About Sonic Water:

The installation is very simple: A sound signal is used to vibrate a speaker. On top of the speaker membrane we have applied a plate and on the plate we have then glued an ordinary bottle cap. The bottle cap (or the whole plate) is filled with water. The water works as a flexible three-dimensional sculpture mass, that translates the sound into pictures. The vibration of the speaker creates one of a kind water-sound-images in response to the respective sound impulse – from chaotic patterns to standing mandala-like waves.

The camera films the speaker from above and basically shoots a macro mode live view of the bottle cap action which is projected onto a large screen.

When people enter the room they initially just see the big screen cymatics projections. However, once they approach the cube with the speaker they suddenly grasp the setup and have this moment of incredulity and utter bewilderment, that a setup as simple as ours can create such astounding visuals. But this part of our installation is actually just an incentive or an ice breaker.

Our actual intention is for the audience to have fun in the laboratory, where they can create and document their own cymatics.

The video below provides a look at interaction with Sonic Water:

Check it out and let us know what you think of Sonic Water!

via MusicOfSound

6 thoughts on “Sonic Water – Cymatics Makes Audio Visible

  1. I wouldn’t dare going so far as saying “plagiarism”, but Sonic Water is identical to Alexander Lauterwasser studies on Cymatics and a CD called Water Mirror. But Water Mirror is great.

    Water Mirror is basically both a composition and a performance by three great composers + Lauterwasser that used his “Sound Transformer” to project water excited by sound. I’m eagerly searching the DVD since year 2000.

    If you google up for Alexander Lauterwasser you can find plenty of info and pictures (some video on youtube as well) but I’ll help you with Water Mirror:

    Besto of luck in finding a copy of Water Mirror. You’d not regret it. 🙂


  2. He he. Some might have grasped a bit of the beauty of physics.
    You always get dynamic structures if energy flows through a liquid system.
    You can also do this with heated water and small particles.
    If you bring non linear responding material in contact with forcings you get nice patterns and ultimately lifeforms given enough time, energy and the right circumstances.
    I just wonder why artists use all this word woo woo. It just shows that they lack the scientific knowledge what they do, or think the public does not want to understand and thinks physics and mathematics are lame. They may be right. But its a cultural misconception that has to change.
    To understand something is enriching us not taking the miracle away. The beauty still persists.

  3. I’m sitting with a little speaker driver at home, wondering where to attach a plate to begin my own cymatic experiments. There’s a dome in the middle of the speaker and a ridge around it. Should the plate touch the dome or the ridge? I’ll keep playing until I get it right. So far, I’ve only seem “white noise” type patterns – NOTHING like what’s in these incredibly videos.

    Thank you for sharing. I’m inspired to add a visual component like this to my live music shows!

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