‘photophon’ is an installation based on intensive acoustic research of the photoacoustic effect. The photoacoustic effect is based on the phenomena of radiant energy where a strong light source can be converted into a sound wave due to absorption and thermal excitation. The sound waves are caused by pressure variations. The photoacoustic effect was discovered in the 19th century by Alexander Graham Bell. He then used candlelight, sunlight and the first forms of electricity in order to amplify sound.

As an installation photophon proposes a new way of generating sounds without the use of electronic amplification. Light creates enough energy to produce sounds. A number of almost identical photophonic objects are playing a variable tone of the fundamental frequency of 523Hz. These tones are created by white lasers that project strong light-beams through a rotating disc which chops the beam into small fragments. The fragments will produce tones in each photophonic object. The tonality of the installation will constantly shift in time and will have a changing vibrating micro-tonal structure.

Borealis Contemporary Music Festival 2014

Shot by Karoline Finnema and Christopher Salte
Edited by Karoline Finnema

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