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Developing Your Fave Songs Can Draw

In response to my studies of semiotics and signs, I developed a concept that revolved around using music as a drawing medium. The final form of the sculpture changed but the concept/question remained the same throughout: How can music create an image without needing the intervention of the "artist's hand," and how do the drawing produced become signifiers for the songs that created them?

Experimentation began with finding the right materials and testing out my ideas. The form I had originally conceived was to place two speakers one in front of the other and have a writing tool (pencil or marker) dangling in between them resting just on the center of a blank page. Then, when i turned on the speakers, the loud noise (or what i assumed would be the waves of sound) could move the pencil back and forth so that an image is produced.

Unfortunately, this did not work (AT ALL) so I began to think of different ways I could make the music manipulate a medium. I thought about the popular science videos where they use subwoofers to make water or paint bounce.

I went out in search of a subwoofer and found an old shelf speaker that I was able to take apart. I began to play around with the subwoofer and water to see how powerful and how it could move the water (and potentially paint or ink). My new idea was to have ink in the subwoofer that would bounce depending on the movement produced by the music, and the splashes would land on a piece of paper under the subwoofer and that would be the "drawing produced by the music.

I realized using water and ink and having it splash would work conceptually, but I didn't like the idea of having water splashing around and possibly damaging the subwoofer (which was made of a thick fibrous paper.) So, i began again to brainstorm what I could do.

I decided the perfect medium to use was charcoal powder, which if placed on top of a piece of paper which was placed on top of the subwoofer, the vibrations would cause the powder to make an imprint on the paper, thus creating a drawing. And alas, the form was complete. Now, I just had to choose the perfect first song that would make the powder dance and that would be an interesting and significant "signified." The perfect song turned out to be a song from my childhood: "El Barrio" by Los Hombres Calientes, a song I heard plenty growing up as my parents were big fans of Latin jazz.

Rather that attempt to visualize a particular song, I wanted to eliminate my own bias and interpretation of what kind of drawing music would create and let the music do it on its own. The song provided the perfect vibrations for the movement of the charcoal and had a personal meaning to me, making the piece overall successful.

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