Edition of 3
C-print grid mosaic comprised of
nine individual mounted 24 x 24 inch elements
looped ambient video projection on sand sculpture
5 pure tones + artist’s harmony vocal drone accompaniment
Running time: 12 minutes
Size is variable to space
Ouroboros is an installation exploring sacred sounds and imagery through the filter of a digital age and was originally mounted in a group show organized through Toronto’s Koffler Centre of the Arts, curated by Evelyn Tauben. This work brings together sound, in the form of both synthesized “machine-age” sound and vocal chant, and the visual equivalent of the synthesized sounds – images created by the sounds themselves through the mediation of artist and machine.
My current work began with a shift in my musical interests in 2001, a shift that led me into a new type of listening experience. With my move to electronic based sound I began working in the field of live cinema, a blend of synthesized audio and video performed on stage. These excursions into minimal electronic sound were the gateway to performing at Montreal’s MUTEK festival on three separate years, and a commission by the International Leonard Cohen Festival. As my commitment to this deep listening experience intensified I was exposed to the work of Dr. Hans Jenny, considered the father of the science of visible sound, which bred ideas and experiments leading to Frequency Painting, of which Ouroboros is a part. Frequency Painting, as a body of work, looks into the visualization of sound by looking at the sculptural potentials of resonant audible frequencies forced through particulate matter.
I have built a series of machines (wave drivers) that I use to create visual representations of sound – both pure tones and musical compositions. I draw using sound waves, pushing them through particulate material creating intricate patterns that change with nuanced variations of sound frequency and volume, then photograph and film the results. I have been deeply moved by the sacred geometry I see in these figures. Their recorded creation and transformations are evocative of the sacred geometric and decorative imagery in many faiths and cultures including Buddhism, Islam, Sanskrit, and Judeism. Similarly, the sounds of those faiths/cultures in the form of chanting and call to prayer mimic the drone-based, slow moving, and physically experienced sound of my musical compositions. The installation, Ouroboros, illustrates the connection between a ubiquitous physical energy – sound waves – and powerful collective human energy in the form of worship/faith and spirituality.
Ouroboros is installed in a barely lit room, entered through a heavy black curtain covering a single entrance. Approaching the room one sees a grid mosaic made up of 9 intricately patterned units, each a high-resolution gloss c-print of a complicated pattern of sand on a black surface, created by one of five audible, high pitched sound frequencies. The five individual tones, experienced visually outside the room as elements within the mosaic, are again experienced on entering the curtained room. The HD 1080p video piece is projected from the ceiling onto a sculpted field of white sand on the floor of the room, and presents a series of pure tones gradually giving physical form to themselves in the sand and then fading again to chaos only to rise again in new form and a new tone. An audio composition played through high quality 4-channel audio uses the pure tones as a starting point for adding varying vocal and electronic layers to build an evocative soundscape that transforms the installation room into a meditative chamber during the 12 minute 12 second looped video.
Ouroboros is an experiential installation created to link sound and visual information and connects them to a sense of the spiritual and the sublime. My hope is that Ouroboros brings the viewer to a state of calm, deeply listening and experiencing the journey of the shift from chaos to form and back, slowing time to allow an opportunity of personal reflection, introspection and awareness.
There are a total of five C-Prints which have been released as the OUROBOROS Series
Click on an image below for more information on each edition.
OUROBOROS by Gary James Joynes is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton