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google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan

art 439 shares connections: +1100

Google and Lachlan Turczan present Shaped by Water in milan 

 

‘Shaped by Water’ is a mesmerizing installation presented by Google and artist Lachlan Turczan at the Milan Design Week. The exhibition invites guests into a sensory journey that explores the qualities of water and our connection to this unpredictable and intangible material. Sound, light, and water generate a hypnotic relationship with each other evoking an immersive audio-visual experience. designboom stepped into the exhibit and spoke with the light and sound artist, and Google’s Vice President of Hardware Design, Ivy Ross, who let us in on how one of the most powerful compounds in the natural world, water, became the protagonist. 

 

‘During the pandemic, a group of my designers was very surprised at how COVID changed our behavior, and so they were starting to look at what elements also alter behavior. And water changes its states from solid to liquid and back to solid and back to liquid, and they said: ‘Water offers the best ideas around resilience: how to be resilient during this time’. So they started going deeper and deeper into exploring the element of water and they started playing with what happens when you put water on different surfaces and materials. They started to see the shapes that water would take, and how it forms its own beautiful curves,’ explained Ivy Ross.

google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan
full header video ©designboom | image ©google

 

 

examining water’s visual and sonic qualities

 

‘We’re getting a great reaction from people seeing water through a new lens.’ shared the duo. ‘Shaped by Water’ examines the connection between natural elements and technology, developing a continuous interaction where sound moves water and water moves light, letting observers see and physically feel vibrations. ‘We think about clean water, dirty water, drinking water, non-drinking water. But we don’t think about the beauty of water as a carrier of other things’.

 

‘Shaped by Water’ is an immersive multisensorial installation that dives into our connection with water. The show is divided into three rooms; the first, ‘Sympathetic Resonance’, hosts eleven of Turczan’s metal vessels that hold shallow pools of water. As visitors wander around the bowls, sweeping tones vibrate each basin at a different frequency which results in unique wave patterns. According to the duo, three of the basins are designed to interact with the human presence, evoking a more intense wave choreography in the proximity of spectators.

google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan
the room hosts eleven shimmering vessels filled with water on their surface

 

The well-lit space with the vessels naturally leads observers to ‘Wavespace’, a dark room that introduces a full-body sensory experience, where water reveals intricate light projections onto large disks overhead. Like in a planetarium space, guests sit back and relax while custom-choreographed music harmonizes with the science of cymatics (a vibrational phenomenon) and creates real-time wave patterns. ‘My dream is to bring this piece into permanent spaces where it can live, and the public can easily access it,’ shared Turczan.

 

‘As for the eleven different vessels, are all created with the idea that they could be placed somewhere outdoors. Seeing the open sky through its mirrored polish body is wonderful and also the way the patterns change as the light moves. That’s why we were so pleased with this venue that contains these skylights, and the way they let natural daylight filter through,’ he added. Finally, the third room presents different Google hardware products, such as the Pixel Watch, and a water close-up demonstrating how the unique characteristics of water have inspired the overall design. ‘I think art will move toward more of this experiential type of work that wants to wake up or enliven our sensory systems. And so I think this is the beginning of this kind of art using movement and sight and sound. We are craving those kinds of experiences more and more,’ explained Ross.

google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan

shaped by water explores our connection to water

 

Lachlan Turczan comments on how challenging it is to tame such an unpredictable material:You have to learn and create the tools in order to shape water in the ways you want. So it’s been about a decade now of me doing this kind of work. I started wanting to shape water so that I could create light projections. For me, the sound was the best way of doing that. Cymatics is this incredible science of visualizing sound and using sound as a sculptural tool to shape water. It has been a very long learning experience of figuring out how to coach water and bring it to the beautiful state you want’.

translating-sound-hypnotizing-water-choreography-google-lachlan-turczan-designboom-18000

google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan
some of the smaller bowls respond to the proximity of the guests

google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan
the second room provides a planetarium-like experience, with large projections of water reflections overhead

translating-sound-hypnotizing-water-choreography-google-lachlan-turczan-designboom-21800

 

google & lachlan turczan translate sound into hypnotizing water choreography in milan
exploring the optical and sonic qualities of water

translating-sound-hypnotizing-water-choreography-google-lachlan-turczan-designboom-1800
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