The Beauty of Sound Sculpture

Burnley Panopticon, the Singing Ringing Tree
Photograph by Daniel Childs

Who says that sculpture is purely a visual art? We believe that it is in fact a medium that can encompass all the senses (even at the same time.) Today let’s take a look at “sound sculpture”. These are artworks made to create a sound effect via their own composition. Artists often use the different properties of materials to create an echo or touch-sound based on human or environmental  interaction. Chimes are a good example of a kinetic sculpture that involves itself with the production of sound art. It uses the wind energy and creates pitch tones by moving into contact with its own metal elements.

Sound sculpture was influenced by kinetic sculpture and art cymatics, and exists as an intermedia in the world of art. Some famous artists that practice the art of sound sculpture are Maryanne Amacher, the Baschet Brothers, Hugh Davies and Henry Dagg.

Sound can be created in a number of ways. From touch, air, heat, electricity and the other types of energy. What sculptors of this genre seek to learn is the creativity that is fostered when combing the physics of sound with the curiosity of art. In our own contemporary world, Sound sculpture makes up a small portion of the evolving artforms that are slowly making their way into national museums and private galleries across the world.

Being inspired by kinetic sculpture means that sound sculptures are largely done using some form of energy. When exploring this type of sculpture, whether for a collection or a hobby, one must always critique the use of energy involved. The rate and type of transfers, the science behind the art, and the ingenuity of the composition. It takes a lot to meld science and art into a hybrid medley of beauty, however if done correctly, it can create a spark for creative innovation in the community.

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