Sonic Form and Surface in Glass
This practice-based research project explores the sound of ice cores in solid glass.
Ice cores are cylinders drilled out of an ice sheet or glacier. Ranging across 800,000 to 1,000 years of geological time, the cores extend to a 3km depth and contain important records about the climate including temperature and concentration of gases. Significantly, the ice cores contain small bubbles of compressed air that reveal popping sounds from the ancient past.
The first stage of the project is anchored by my own audio field recordings at the British Antarctic Survey ice-core archive in Cambridge. Exploring cymatic methods for visualising the vibration of sound, a second stage of the research involves vibrating frit coated glass sheets with audio field recordings from the archive and firing them. Metal sheets coated with volcanic ash are also vibrated with sound. The resultant cymatic patterns are furnace cast with hot glass before cooling then cut, polished and sculpted by hand into solid forms and surfaces.
Within this context, I aim to capture the fleeting disappearance of the glacial atmosphere in glass as a material sonic trace. Moving from the fluid and the solid; the material and the immaterial; hot and cold, the project follows paths opened by artists including Roni Horn, Wolfgang Laib and Tokujin Yoshioka.
In the third and final stage of the research, the glass objects and audio field recordings will be used as the basis for exhibited sound and glass installations. Drawing the visitor into Antarctica’s hidden and ancient past, the installations seek to provoke thinking about the glacial future. Evaluating the philosophical concept of spatial atmosphere within an integrated body of written and creative work, the project aims to define glass as a sonic medium.