SVS Subwoofer Featured in “Displacing Vibrations” Art Exhibit

Natural Rock Archways Speak with Help From PB-4000 Subwoofer

In one of the most interesting installations of an SVS subwoofer we’ve ever seen, artist Wendy Wischer in collaboration with Geophysicist Jeffrey Moore created a multi-sensory experience called Displacing Vibrations that uses an SVS PB-4000 subwoofer to produce naturally occurring sounds and vibrations produced by rare rock archways present in Utah and throughout the American West.

Natural arches are constantly vibrating; like a guitar string plucked by the wind or the background drone of the Earth’s energy, they each vibrate with a unique set of tones set by their geometry and material properties. These tones represent a voice, a hum previously unknown to humans because it occurs at inaudible low frequencies and is too subtle to feel.

Speeding up ambient vibration recordings generated with ultrasensitive seismometers and replaying the recordings through an SVS PB-4000 subwoofer and other audio equipment now makes the voice of these archways audible. With low frequency extension down to 13Hz, the SVS PB-4000 is able to produce output that falls below the threshold of human hearing, where it can only be felt.

The exhibit required a subwoofer that could produce infrasonic low frequencies to provide a true representation of the vibrations generated by the natural rock archways. The sound sculpture is both felt and heard. These vibrational tones are then combined with many layers of added sounds to create a unique soundscape.

In a small room, filled with a sculptural sandstone landscape, a 5.1 surround sound enhanced sculpture houses the PB-4000 subwoofer, hidden under the rock formations. Viewers are allowed to touch the rock sculptures to feel the vibrations as well as gently sit on a sculptural arch that is part of the piece.

These arches evolved in isolation over thousands of years in one of the most remote, wild, and challenging landscapes of the American West. Recent human encroachment and planned development now threatens to place increasing stress on these arches. Formed over millennia through erosion, the natural rock formations are in urgent need of conservation management to support their long-term preservation. Through this inspiring collaboration of art and science, the exhibit aims to raise awareness for maintaining these unique structures.

Installed within one of the rock archway structures, a PB-4000 subwoofer simulates the naturally occurring infrasonic resonances and vibrations.

“It’s amazing to be a part of this unique multi-sensory experience and I can say with complete certainty this is the first time an SVS subwoofer, and probably any subwoofer, has been featured in major multi-sensory art exhibit,” said Nick Brown, SVS vice president, marketing. “The concept of rock formations communicating through vibrations and sound is fascinating and we’re proud to play a small role in conserving these rare natural structures.”

Beyond a new sensory experience, vibration recordings also offer experimental means to assess structural change. Concepts established in engineering are being applied for the first time to monitor the structural health of rock formations. Arches are literally humming their health with the help of an SVS subwoofer and we’ve only begun to hear what they have to say.

Displacing Vibrations is open to the public by appointment at Nox Contemporary through April 5, 2019. To make an appointment, contact Nox curator John Sproul by call or text at 801.289.6268. Nox is located at 440 S. 400 West, Ste. H, in Salt Lake City. Displacing Vibrations is also open during gallery stroll on March 15 from 6 to 9 p.m., with a closing reception on March 15.

If you get a chance to check it out, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Apr 28, 2020