Documentary 3:00 minutes

(Custom electronics design and software programming)

FREQUENCY PAINTING: 12 TONES combines iconic Cymatic sound wave sculpture (documented/exhibited as photography) and interactive (generative) sound composition into an immersive environment exploring the relationship between sound waves and their visual counterpart. The exhibition offers a portal to escape the world of the everyday.

Tonal energy, featured in cultures the world over, has been used to promote meditation and enlightenment. Similarly, mandalas and non-object based imagery have represented the unknowable, the infinite. Global cultural memory contains similar pure forms to the images in the Frequency Painting series. Are these inventions of human creativity or the physical manifestation of sound in our worlds? Perhaps these SONIC forms have an innate and synaesthetic connection to the visual content of our disparate cultures. 12 TONES links these pure aesthetic truths explored over hundreds of millennia.

Each image in 12 TONES is the visible form of the sound that created it, sculpted by shaping high volume sound waves through a custom designed wave driver plate machine and then photographed. The sound component compliments the photography through the use of hand-made sonar sensors triggering and modulating a speaker system emitting the very sine wave which generated the image. Each image is accompanied by one of these custom sound generators that modulates the volume both randomly and interactively based on viewer movement within the exhibition space. The interactivity is subtle yet is what holds the exhibition together as the 12-channel audio moiré of binaural beats and phase shifts morphs with every change in volume, a perpetually evolving composition played by the installation (random sonar pulses) in concert with it's viewers.

No two participants ever have the same sonic experience.

David Candler
Scott Smallwood
Susan Kennard
Kenny Lozowski
Banff Centre of the Arts (Banff New Media Institute)
Latitude 53


The series “Frequency Painting” by artist Gary James Joynes, also known through his recording moniker Clinker, is an evocation of synaesthetic minimalism.

Through his career in music Clinker/Gary has explored the use of electrons to create sound pieces built from pure tones, harmonics, drones, bleeps and overtones. He has built a unique analog synthesizer and a wide repertoire of intensely individual and unreproduceable sounds. Via experiments in Live Cinema, performing improvisational realtime video plus audio pieces Gary has also developed a minimalist visual vocabulary that has led to his current experiments in synaesthesia and the documentation of private performances.

Gary has imagined a world where sound is form and can be embodied within visible as well as audible wavelengths. Using his analog electronic wonder to generate both simple tones and the swept and pulsed sound signals of his musical compositions, Gary created a machine with which he could manifest the visual identity of his sounds. With the support of the Banff Centre of the Arts he has spent months experimenting to find the resonant frequencies visible in his new body of work.

Tonal energy, featured in cultures the world over has been used to promote healing, balance, meditation, prayer, comfort and peace. Similarly, sand painting, mandalas and non-object based imagery has represented the unknowable, the universal, the infinite. Cultural memory in the global community contains similar pure forms to the images in the Frequency Painting series and 12 Tones: Buddhist walking meditation gardens, the abstract patterns that form the decorative world of the Muslim faith, stained glass shadows and illuminated manuscripts in the western world. Are these inventions of human creativity or the physical manifestation of sound in our worlds? Perhaps Gregorian chants, Buddhist meditation vocalization and the call to prayer trigger an innate and synaesthetic connection leading to the visual content of our disparate cultures. Similarly, Inuit throat singing and the sound of the instruments of the original Australian people could be seen as the sonic counterpoint to sand snow and ice designs created by physical forces in a frigid north and brutally barren outback.

The Frequency Painting series by Gary James Joynes offers us a link to these pure aesthetic truths explored over hundreds of millennia using technology based in the recent analog age, and documented with the best the digital age has to offer. The exhibition provides an opportunity to be both confused and enlightened.

The images presented in “Frequency Painting” are the culmination of hours of bombardment by finely tuned and intensely high volume sound waves. Tones driven through a custom designed machine to capture the resonant frequencies that would give form and pattern to particulate matter set in motion on a steel plate. A modern mandala created through near anachronistic technology, each image is the visible form of the sound that created it.

In 12 Tones, the first manifestation of the Frequency Painting series, we are introduced to sound and vision conjoined through the unique sculptural multimedia units of the exhibition. As the viewer is drawn into the jarring near symmetry of the monochromatic photographic abstraction, an intimate relationship between image and viewer is created. The beauty of the abstract appearing form pulls the observer in and holds them as the serpiginous shape is revisioned as a truly hyperrealistic image. The audible nature of the installation is dependant on the presence of its’ viewers – as we move through the installation we become the force that changes both volume and character of sounds coming from the individual pieces and the instrument as a whole.

To confront a piece at close quarters will enfold the viewer in a visual and auditory storm mimicking that of the artist’s experience in performing with his machines and that of the synaesthete, both blessed and cursed by the comingling of senses. With each change in volume the sounds conflict and interfere with each other, creating a moving and everchanging soundtrack of binaural beating and phase shifts. Even small changes in the listener’s position in any dimension bring an entirely changed sonic world. Participants experience a composition played by the installation in concert with the other viewers moving through the space changing volumes and impeding sound waves. Location, height, head position, and shared experience all matter in a world where no two participants will hear exactly the same composition.

Synaesthesia; a sensation produced in one sensory modality through stimulation of another modality
Mandala: a schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity. a symbol representing the effort to reunify the self.


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