The Trembling Line is an exhibition by Aura Satz exploring acoustics, vibration, sound visualisation and musical gesture with an aim to wrest the space between sound and image to see how far these can be stretched apart before they fold back into one another. The title, The Trembling Line, refers in part to the basic principle of vibration, a disturbance of equilibrium, such as the stimulated of motion and sound through friction, but also to the possibility of challenging static notation systems and destabilizing the experience of seeing and hearing.
The centrepiece of the show is the film and sound installation The Trembling Line, which explores visual and acoustic echoes between decipherable musical gestures and abstract patterning, orchestral swells and extreme slow-motion close-ups of strings and percussion. It features a score by Leo Grant and an innovative multichannel audio system by the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), University of Southampton, as part of the S3A research project on immersive listening.
The exhibition includes The Absorbing Wall (2015), based on an anechoic chamber, along with five closely inter-connected films: Vocal Flame (2012); Oramics: Atlantis Anew (2011); Onomatopoeic Alphabet (2010); Theremin (2009); Automamusic (2008).
Some of the works address the visualisation of sound as a morphing language in which patterns of sand, salt or fire correspond to sounds in unexpected ways. Others address gesture-less mechanical music or the compelling gesturality of a theremin, a sensitive instrument that is played without physical contact, merely by waving hands in its proximity, affecting the sounds produced by the electromagnetic field.
The Trembling Line is the result of Aura Satz’s year as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Southampton, funded by The Leverhulme Trust and the University. The residency represents an innovative collaboration between the artist, the Department of Music and ISVR that explores the conceptual translations between different art-forms, acoustics and technologies, and reflects ongoing exchanges between the composers, performers and acoustic engineering staff and students.
Aura Satz’s practice encompasses film, sound, performance and sculpture. She engages with technological objects that tap into ideas of knowledge and communication in their use of notation systems, languages or encrypted codes. She has performed, exhibited and screened her work nationally and internationally, including Tate Modern, Barbican Art Gallery, ICA, the Wellcome Collection, Whitechapel Gallery; Experimenta, London Film Festival; the New York Film Festival. She is Tutor in Moving Image at Royal College of Art, London.
More information on Aura Satz can be found by visiting her website.