Within a transparent chamber filled with xenon-infused sulfuric acid, sound waves are transformed into light emissions by employing a phenomenon known as sonoluminescence. After adapting to the absolute darkness surrounding the installation, one begins to perceive the fleeting configurations of glowing sound fields. Though it has been established that the source of light arises inside of imploding gas bubbles, the sequence of events, starting from the collapse and leading to photonic emissions, shock waves and jet formations, remains predominantly unknown. After a great deal of research since the 1980s, numerous theories have been proposed, ranging from collision-induced radiation and quantum optical heating to plasma core ionization and even bubble fusion. No research, however, has been conducted on the implications of sonoluminescence as a perceptual tool. It is our intention to uncover this delicate bio-chemi-physical interface where the visible is the condition of the invisible (of the audible) and “where the inverse is also true, where invisibility [the disappearance of the observer in total darkness] is the condition of a new kind of visibility” (Tomas/Caillois/Minkowski).
The authors of the installation, Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, joined forces with multiple sound artists to create the sonochemical compositions presented on the Camera Lucida DVD, 2007.