Do you know what sound looks like? Japanese artist Kenichi Kanazawa makes the invisible visible. He studies cymatics—the art of visualizing sound vibration—by experimenting with sand on a steel tabletop. In a recent video posted on Twitter, Kanazawa is captured creating “a visual demonstration of the power of sound to create order out of chaos.”
Kanazawa starts by sprinkling white sand on the tabletop, before using a small mallet to rub the metal surface to create sound vibrations. Just like magic, the sand starts to move and a geometric pattern starts to take shape. He then picks up a larger mallet that produces lower vibrations, and the pattern begins to change. A third mallet changes the course of the sand yet again, creating a final star-like motif from grains of sand.
Originally a sculptor by trade, Kanazawa began experimenting with steel and sound in 1987 after collaborating with the late sound artist Hiroshi Yoshimura. Today, he continues to explore the fascinating possibilities of cymatics with colorful sand, steel, and mallets.
Check out Kanazawa’s cymatics demonstrations below.
Cymatics artist Kenichi Kanazawa visualizes sound vibrations with sand, a steel table, and mallets.
A visual demonstration of the power of sound to create order out of chaos. pic.twitter.com/9zVSyi0ujg
— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) November 14, 2020