Onomatopoeic Alphabet is short film centred around a Chladni Plate, a scientific instrument invented by Ernst Chladni, the 'father of acoustics', to visualise sound vibrations. The film explores nodal figures, sound patterns and symmetry, and uses a sine wave generator as a musical instrument. Each sound effectively produces a moving image and inspires the viewer to read the abstract imagery as not only a sound wave, notation or graphic score, but as a true representation of what is being heard. Much like an unknown hieroglyphic code, graphic shorthand or Rorschach inkblots, the images provoke unexpected associations concerning the shape of sound and the graphic systems of language and communication. The film looks like a musical score of sorts, as well as a bizarre ever-changing alphabet that morphs like an organic living being in response to the changing audio-visuals. The film engages in a reflexive and reversible relationship between image and sound, cause and effect, the indexical trace and the symbolic code. The graphic sequences evoke utopian ideas around the possibility of universal language, a system of signs decipherable by all.
Onomatopoeic Alphabet was written, directed, filmed, recorded and edited by Aura Satz
Sine wave music and voiceover by Aura Satz
Featuring voice artist Mikhail Karikis
Dubbing mix by Gernot Fuhrmann
Aura Satz would like to thanks Mikhail Karikis, Danielle Chin, Prokit, Chris Pierce, and Raf Gasak.
2-18 Dec 2010
ONOMATOPOEIC ALPHABET and AEIOU were originally commissioned by VIVID and were shown as part of the exhibition 'LANGUAGE'
An international selection of moving image, exhibition, discussion and print which explored the constructs of language and meaning from far reaching cultural perspectives. The exhibition spanned film which reflected the post-Structuralist theories of the 1970s to documented actions and contemporary works newly commissioned by VIVID. In response to a subject of such historical depth the exhibition incorporated a range of approaches from Iranian artist Barbad Golshiri's direct and political challenge to the language of spiritual authority to Gary Hill's stretching out of the possibilities for image as language and the physicality of sound. Artists included: John Adams, William Burroughs, Barbad Golshiri, Gary Hill, Valerie Mrejen, Aura Satz, Guy Sherwin, Margaret Tait, and Olivier Zabat.
A screening and events programme ran throughout, including screenings from Video Data Bank's John Smith Anthology, Valerie Mrejen, Pork and Milk (2004), Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, Speaking in Tongues (2009) and Samuel Beckett, Not I (1975).
VIVID also commissioned a performance by artist Aura Satz on the 17th Dec 2010; using a Chladni plate, some tuning forks, and other such contraptions, Satz performed an annotated, illustrated, fragmented talk on sound, its visualisation, and the utopian belief in a universal alphabet.
Alongside the film Onomatopoeic Alphabet, Aura Satz presents AEIOU, a small multi-channel sound sculpture using hearing trumpets, and featuring voice artist Mikhail Karikis. Inspired by research indicating that each vowel corresponds to an instrinsic pitch, each trumpet emits a differente vowel sound, creating unusual overtones and beats.
140 Heath Mill Lane
Birmingham B9 4AR
Tel: +44 (0) 121 766 7876
Fax: +44 (0) 871 251 0747
5 August - 3 September 2011
AEIOU was included in the group exhibition 'In Search of Alchemic Times', curated by Cecilia Wee
Artists: Aura Satz, Charlesworth, Lewandowski & Mann, Jennifer Walshe, Liliane Lijn, Nathan Witt, Peter Lewis and Makiko Nagaya, Rowena Harris, Steven Ounanian, Tom Badley, Unrealised Projects.
Thursday - Saturday 12-6pm Wednesdays by appointment
235 Brompton Road
London SW3 2EP
tel: 07527 640 419
4–7 May 2012, performance on the 5th May 2pm
Onomatopoeic Alphabet included in the group exhibition 'The Sight of Sound', Deutsche Bank VIP Lounge, Frieze Art Fair
Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.
Group exhibition including John Cage, Christian Marclay, Jorge Macchi, Jenny C. Jones, David Ellis and Aura Satz.
Selected works feature artists from the Deutsche Bank Collection who reference music in a variety of ways: as a structural or notational device, a vehicle for chance and improvisation, or as a social platform for communicating identity. These artists from different generations share a trajectory of using musical forms as a source and framework. The theme underscores Deutsche Bank’s global commitment to supporting art and music, and promoting cultural advancement through the intersecting worlds of ideas and practices.
The historical influence of musical sound on visual artists is immeasurable, but its effect upon form, process, and conceptual art has clearly become more prevalent in modern times. From Piet Mondrian’s painting, “Broadway Boogie Woogie,” his homage to jazz, to John Cage and Nam June Paik’s experiments with performance-driven work, to real-time musical interactions via satellite, video and digital interfaces, the relationship between the aural and visual arts are continually shape-shifting.
Frieze Art Fair on Randall's Island, Manhattan
23 January - 3 February 2013
Solo retrospective at Blaak 10, as part of the 42nd International Film Festival Rotterdam
curated by Edwin Carels
Spiral Sound Coil (2010) is an immersive psychoacoustic installation. Automamusic (2008) looks at self-playing instruments such as the pianola, wind-up music boxes and organs, filmed at the Museum of Music Automatons in Switzerland. Theremin (2010) is part of a series of videos characterised by their unusual sculptural relation to their performer. Sound Seam (2010) uses microscopic close-ups of gramophone grooves and the anatomy of the ear, while the accompanying music includes wax cylinder recordings and otoacoustic sounds emitted by the ear. Oramics (2011) is a homage to Daphne Oram, pioneer of British Electronic Music and creator of hand-wrought, drawn sound. Vocal Flame (2012) is a sound sculpture made using a Ruben's Tube, an acoustic device that visualises sound as a standing wave of small flames, with music by Steven Severin (of Siouxsie and the Banshees).
Blaak 10 Gallery
Witte de Withstraat 7
3012 BL Rotterdam
3-7 October 2013
Screened at the 51st New York Film Festival, 'Views from the Avant-garde', curated by Mark McElhatten
Our popular yearly touchstone for experimental film returns with 45 programs in glorious Super-8, 16mm and 35mm film and HD formats. Many familiar faces have returned and this year's slate feature 45 new artists as well as several mini-retrospectives of artists including, Aura Satz, Lois Patino, Sandro Aguilar, and Jean-Paul Kelly. Views will also offer special tributes to the late Stom Sogo and Anne Robertson, whose work is a testimony to the power of a cinema that is fearless, confidential and inextinguishable. Curated by Mark McElhatten.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center
70 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-6595
13 May 2015
'Soundfigures: Films by Aura Satz'
A selection of films by Aura Satz, DIM Cinema, Vancouver Cinametheque, programmed by Michele Smith
(Near) extinct technologies make sound visible in this program of shorts by London-based artist Aura Satz that delve into ideas of knowledge, memory, and communication. On a Chladni Plate, a device that marked the birth of acoustics, grains of sand, moving like Busby Berkeley dancers, form intricate patterns in response to changing sound frequencies, their shapes recalling the utopian quest for a 'pure,' onomatopoeic alphabet. Wax cylinder recordings combine with modern scientific instruments to animate a text by Rainer Maria Rilke on the possibility of hearing the dead by playing their skulls with a gramophone needle. A Ruben's Tube translates a histrionic voice-over into a standing wave of small flames, provoking unexpected associations, from the biblical burning bush to various acts of ventriloquism in pop culture. Breaking its long silence, the Oramics Machine plays hand-drawn compositions by its inventor, electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram. Kaleidoscopic effects in the lamphouse of a 35mm film printer honour Natalie Kalmus, colour consultant on masterpieces of the Technicolor era. Chromatic distortions in early colour-film tests are revealed through the eyes of the George Eastman family and old Hollywood stars. In a dramatic finale, Satz and experimental filmmaker Lis Rhodes encode their voices as abstract light patterns on 16mm mono and 35mm stereo filmstrips in a collaborative exploration of sound-image synchronicity.
1131 Howe St.
18 Feb 2016
'Between the Bullet and the Hole' (Plus Other Shorts) at Whitechapel Gallery, London
Aura Satz presents the UK premiere of 'Between the Bullet and the Hole', her latest short film which examines the role of women in ballistic research, early computing and pattern perception in warfare. Presented alongside her works focusing on memory, notation, encryption and gender, the event also features an in conversation with special guests Morgan Quaintance and David Alan Grier.
77-82 Whitechapel High St
London E1 7QX
24 March 2016
'In and Out of Synch' an evening of films and sound with Aura Satz presented by Liquid Architecture and Gertrude Contemporary
Satz presents works that explore the relationship between esoteric technologies (Chladni plate, Rubens' tube, theremin, mechanical music machines, phonographs, dial tones, drawn/optical sound) and the human body (heightened perception, sensory disorientation, psychoacoustics) and how these are mediated by notation systems, languages and codes. Followed by Q&A with Joel Stern.
200 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Melbourne VIC 3065
7th March 2017
'Between the Bullet and the Hole' (Plus Other Shorts) at HOME Manchester
Followed by Q&A with Chris Paul Daniels
2 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester M15 4FN
Part of: Artist Talks https://homemcr.org/event/artist-talks/
An article on Chladni patterns by Aura Satz appears in Cabinet magazine, "Shapes with the Sound of Their Own Making, The many resonances of the Chladni plate", 24 Hours, Issue 44 Winter 2011/12