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Atomic music

Acoustic representations of molecular processes, properties and research laboratories


Louise Wilson, Bethan Evans, Elizabeth Willneff, Arturs Pugejs, James Bucag, Gunjan Das, Anu Pallipurath, Sven Schroeder

This interdisciplinary collaborative project (with partners covering arts, science and sound engineering) will be investigating how the functions generated during spectroscopic explorations with X-rays of the arrangement of atoms using the analytical technique of Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectroscopy (EXAFS) can be transposed into the audible frequency range. By focusing on the fundamental building block of material (the atom), this work explores material contingency and agency at one of the smallest dimensions possible. This ‘musical EXAFS’ auralises the dance of agency between the material, the human, and the more-than-human via a series of the methods through which the dance at the level of the X-ray + atom + photoelectron is translated, not to the visual world as is typically done via a spectrum, but to the acoustic world recognisable to a human material-phenomenal spectrum. Sound and audibility reflect the varied but convergent aspects of this scientific practice and create a new forum for tangible exploration of the intra-actions behind the materiality of the smallest dimensions of matter e.g. the arrangement of atoms.


You can watch a short video about the project here


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