QUANTASONIC, experiencing data through light and sound
by: Voldemārs Johanson, Studiotopia artist in residence
The Latvian artist Voldemārs Johansons and the Belgian researchers Prof. Hugo Thienpont, Wendy Meulebroeck, Lien Smeesters, Natalie Vermeulen (Brussels Photonics B-PHOT), Prof. Antoine Reserbat Plantey (Quantum Nano-Optoelectronics Group at ICFO) and Dr.Alexander Kish (Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii and European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN - DarkSide project) are the residents of STUDIOTOPIA Art&Science Residency Programme hosted by GLUON and supported by Innovatieve Partnerprojecten (Flemish authorities). Their common project Quantasonic aims to explore the integration of data in acoustic and visual domains.
Quantasonic is a hybrid environment, originating from a fundamental synthesis concept in electronic music. It explores extreme forms of light: from laser-induced plasma to supercontinuum generation.
Since his studies at the Institute of Sonology of the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, Voldemārs Johansons has been exploring the subject of spatial data within computer music and the problem of multidimensional representation in a physical space.
“I am interested to create live and experimental situations
that invite for perceptual experiences to arise and excite the imagination.”
Within the STUDIOTOPIA project, in close collaboration with the scientific research team, Voldemārs Johansons is aiming to project acoustic quanta in the visual domain with cutting-edge photonics approaches. One of the research objectives of the project is to achieve coherence and organic integration of data in acoustic and visual domains.
This Art&Science residency is exploring ways to tame intense light to create visual forms in space employing optical phenomena such as laser-induced optical breakdown and supercontinuum generation.
“In my artistic work physical phenomena such as diffraction of light,
the flow of fluid and light waves are presented in the perceptual translation of theoretical knowledge and data.”
Quantasonic is an experimental installation that aims to create a dynamic audio-visual landscape in which the spectator is invited to experience immersive turbulence of data visualization. The Quantasonic idea goes back to the tradition of the European avant-garde and electronic music and combines notions in quantum physics and music composition. The quantum approach to music was pioneered by composer Iannis Xenakis who laid the foundation for the granular treatment of sound production.
The notion was later developed into a method of sound production that operates on the microsound time scale and is known as the granular synthesis within modern computer music environments. As a strategy to observe data, the Quantasonic project draws inspiration from the idea that all matter, including sound and light, can be observed as particles of different scale. It can also be seen as a reflection of long-standing ideas about the nature of sound. Quantum physics has hypothesized that a sound can be atomically reduced to physical particles. In 1946 the British physicist Dennis Gabor, Nobel Prize winner for holography, described the quantum approach to sound and how it should be looked at from this perspective. He introduced the term Acoustical Quanta and presented the idea of applying quantum physics methods to the sound signal. This quantum concept is applied to data space and abstract data structures that are interpreted as particles in a multidimensional space.
 Wiener, N. 1964 'Spatio-Temporal Continuity, Quantum Theory and Music' The Concepts of Space and Time. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company. 539-546.
Find out more about Voldermārs Johansons' work.
Find out more about GLUON.
Quantasonic is part of the STUDIOTOPIA project supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Photo: © GLUON