An analog for listening
User guide: Once you open ‘An Analog for Listening‘ the browser will request access to your microphone. The work responds to the sound you feed into it. One way of engaging with the work is to open audio files in a separate tab. You can also use any other sound source – an instrument, voice, or your environment. Recommended browsers are Chrome or Firefox.
The wavelengths of sound frequencies audible to the human ear (20 Hz–20,000 Hz) are between approximately 17 metres and 17 millimetres in length. In contrast, the human eye will typically respond to wavelengths of light from about 390 to 700 nanometres. In terms of frequency, this corresponds to a range in the vicinity of 430–770 THz. (1Hz = 10−¹² THz).
Because the twelve-tone scale has equal temperaments it is possible to speculatively scale up the fundamental frequency of a note by a power of octaves to find its equivalent wavelength/ frequency in the spectrum of visible light.
Whilst light and sound are fundamentally different waveforms (longitudinal and latitudinal), the mathematical form of the equal tempered scale is not inherent to either of them. A4 and A44 have a non-sensuous similarity. Meaningful harmonic relationships between the waveforms of simultaneous sounds and colours are possible, an expression of which can be found in this piece.
Cognition is always sliding between different modes of abstraction from the concrete phenomenal world, cleaving apertures of perception through the ordering of sensation. Pre-established hierarchies of sensory experience ingrain ontological outlooks that can be revised. There is always the possibility of estranging the framework of empirical perception; computation is only one such means.
An Analog for Listening was produced by Nikhil Vettukattil for Flatness in collaboration with Austin Gross.
Nikhil Vettukattil is an artist and writer based in Oslo. His practice concerns the role of representation and image-making processes in framing and remaking lived experience. Through a range of mediums, his work often explores the ways cultural forms can mediate everyday life and historical time. Recent projects include ‘Words Fail Me’ at Auto Italia, London (2018), ‘Denying the Inflammability of the Twigs Found in the Copse This Morning’ at Le Bourgeois, London (2017), ‘Perception is Reading’ for Notes/Cashmere Radio, Berlin (2017), ‘Either the nearest or the farthest away’ for bizoux.online (2017), and ‘Cosmopolitan Universal Cinema’ at Arnolfini, Bristol and Close-Up, London (2016).