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Dave Tilton, CloudWave, ©2008

“All that you are really doing when you’re collecting stuff from space is that you’ve got to get that information into your brain so you can think about it.  And what we’re used to doing is putting visual information into our brains – well there’s no real reason why we shouldn’t listen to signals.” (Dr. Tim O’Brien, of Manchester University’s Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, discussing the technique called “stellar seismology” which is used to record sounds by interpreting light waves recorded through telescopes).*

We live in a world composed of energy, and as human beings, we transform that energy into amazing things.

The three cones in the human eye divide up photons in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to create color and our minds turns those photons into Rothkos, Rembrandts, and sunsets.

Our ears sense differentials in air pressure (sinusoidal plane waves traveling through the matter that surrounds us) to create sound and our minds turn those waves into Beethoven, Eno, and traffic noise.

Sensing takes place in our organs; making sense takes place in our minds.

For me, the line between hearing and seeing is thin and malleable, or even fuzzy and blurry.  Energy is translated into sight and sound by our eyes and ears and turned into art and music in our minds.  Do I need sine waves to hear music in my mind?  Do I need photons to see art in my mind?  Some may call this imagining, but for me it is a willful reconfiguration of my sensory experience.  This reconfiguration is the basis for my art.

A while back I was talking to someone about my techniques being modeled after techniques used in synthesizing and composing electronic music.  He responded by stating flatly, “Sound is temporal.  Image is static.”

I say, “Sure, kind of, maybe.  But what can we learn by thinking differently?”

* Science is beginning to ‘listen’ to stars by measuring what they see through telescopes.  In 2008, scientists recorded the sound of three stars similar to our Sun using France’s Corot space telescope.  According to BBC News Science correspondent, Pallub Ghosh:  The technique, called “stellar seismology,” is becoming increasingly popular among astronomers because the sounds give an indication of what is going on in the stars’ interior.  Just as seismic waves moving through Earth provide information about our planet’s insides, so sound wave traveling through a star carry information about its inner workings.  The Corot detects the oscillations as subtle variations in the light emitted by a star as its surface wobbles.  This light signal can then be converted back to sounds we understand.  In addition to Dr. Tim O’Brien, Ghosh also quotes Professor Eric Michel of the Paris Observatory as saying, “This is a completely new way to look at the stars compared with what has been available for the past 50 years.  It is very exciting.”  Read Ghosh’s full article to learn more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7687286.stm