Listen to the sound of... the sun
With Heliophone, artist Aernoudt Jacobs presents an installation which turns sunlight into sound. In order to create this installation, Jacobs researched the ‘photoacoustic principle’ as discovered by Alexander Graham Bell at the end of the 19th century. Bell proved that a strong light source can be converted into an acoustic wave and, moreover that any material comes with a sonority that will be revealed by hitting it with a strong beam of light. The inventions of Bell led a.o. to the predecessor of the wireless telephone, and now indeed also to Heliophone. The basic principle of Heliophone is simple: energy from the sun is transformed into sound without electronic amplification. In the design, however, Jacobs combines an impressive array of traditional and cutting-edge technologies. The installation follows the trajectory of the sun, catching the sunlight and focusing it, via a parabol- ic lens, onto one point. There, a rotating disk chops the light up into small fragments. A photo-acoustic cell further transforms the light fragments into sound, made audible by a large horn. With Heliophone, Jacobs created a sound piece for the sun; the tonality of the installation constantly changing with the intensity of light. In this way, the notion of ‘environmental sounds’ gains an entirely different connotation.
'I see it a bit as a prolongation of my field recording work where I hunt for sounds or when I try to grasp the origins of sound.' – (Aernoudt Jacobs - WMMNA interview, 11/06/2015)
Heliophone is the final instalment of a collaborative research with KU Leuven, Laboratory for Acoustics, supported by an IWT CICI-grant. A coproduction of Overtoon – platform for sound art and STUK, House for Dance, Image and Sound.
On the occasion of the first public presentation of Heliophone, a collection of objects and design principles of Jacobs based on the photo-acoustic principle is presented in the STUK Verbeeckzaal. Operational prototypes functioning with laser or LED lights, stand next to a DIY chopper and a selection of parabolic mirrors. Jacobs sheds light on the different design components; from lenses and choppers to photo-acoustic cells and horns in different materials and sizes. Plans and drawings further clarify the thought processes and design decisions made.
WE 23 SEP — 18:00
STUK is pleased to invite you to the public opening of the exhibition Heliophone. During the opening, artist Aernoudt Jacobs will provide an introduction to his work.
“I tend to work on the transition between what you hear and what you see. The visual is a kind of interface that brings the medium into motion, into the space, or into something that you can listen to.” – (Aernoudt Jacobs - WMMNA interview, 11/06/2015)
Aernoudt Jacobs is an artist fascinated with sound in all its forms. In his work, he researches how sounds and phenomena can trigger sonic processes that affect the observer’s scope of perception and experience. His works results from an investigation into the different aspects of field recordings and the assimilation of the resulting material into new forms and contexts. Jacobs’ work has been internationally presented in musea and at festivals. With Christoph De Boeck, he co-directs Overtoon, a platform for sound art. Aernoudt Jacobs lives and works in Brussels.