Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ether Twist

Back on track!

Now, for the next film in my one-woman show: "Ether Twist." This film has sound! It's strange and quiet, but it's there...

Sounds from very low frequency (VLF) radio emissions make up the soundtrack to this film. These sounds include aurorae, solar flares, lightning and other electromagnetic phenomena that affect the Earth's ionosphere. The imagery is composed of various pieces of transparent plastics (try to guess what some of them are- you might be surprised) whose colors are revealed through polarized light. Neither the sound nor the image would be detectable if it weren't for careful manipulation of electromagnetic waves.

Many thanks to Stephen P. McGreevy for recording the incredible VLF sounds and allowing me to use them. This is a rather large file- the film is about 10 minutes long.

(Click on the image to play the quicktime movie- with sound!)

Footnotes: Ether (or Aether) was once considered to be quintessence, or the "fifth element." It was thought the be the medium through which light waves (indeed, all energy) traveled. It has since been dropped from the world of scientific thought and is considered to be, well, more...ethereal (not sure if that can qualify as a pun, but it was intended). It is considered to be the unifying energy for all living spirits in Wicca and some other religions.

The film title owes its existance to lyrics in the Tori Amos song, "Suede:"

i'm sure that you've been briefed
my absorption lines
they are frayed
and i fear
my fear is greater than my faith
but i walk the missionary way
you always felt like suede
there are days i am your twin
hiding underneath your skin
are revving yes revving from
an ether twist
call me 'evil'
call me 'tide is on your side'
anything you want

I connected with these lyrics instantly, but really keyed in on the phrase "ether twist." The liquid crystal materials I use do a sort of "ether twist." By twisting (refracting) the direction of the light waves at different wavelengths (colors), the bland, transparent plastics become vibrant, colored light sources.


Squish said...

just thought you'd like to know, you made the top of the Squishlist


sea dot said...

Wow! Thanks!! :D

Quel honneur!