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Carsten Nicolai

Berlin based German artist and musician, Carsten Nicolai, works in a transitional field between music, art, and science. He seeks to override the individualized sensory perceptions by creating works that appeal to multiple senses at a time (i.e. using sound and light frequencies to appeal to ears and eyes simultaneously). In terms of computation, he often uses mathematical patterns like random, grids, error, consistency, etc.

In his 2016 installation, Reflektor Distortion, viewers can both hear the sounds being played, and see the light bars seemingly move in the water bowl. It works by creating sound waves through a speaker that shifts the water in the bowl accordingly, therefore creating the illusion that the series of light bars being reflected in the water are also moving. The result is a mesmerizing movement of lights that coincide with whatever sound is being displayed. I think that the light bas are a very effective and beautiful way to display sound waves, contrary to the stereotypical up-down cosine/sine looking sound waves that we’re all used to seeing.

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