37.75°N 122.55°W 19060418T051200 (2015)

The cymatic water tank visualizer takes any sound or data in the form of sound files, and plays them through deep bass “Buttkicker” speakers to vibrate a custom acrylic tank of water. Different frequencies excite different modes of vibration of the tank and cause different kinds of patterns in the water. The table can also be operated through a midi interface to allow for interactive performance.

Higher frequencies make a delicate, wispy, spider-web-like pattern on the surface of the water, while lower frequencies make the water jump as the sound creates standing waves.

This project is part of the work of the University of California Santa Cruz’s Digital Art and New Media department DANM, OpenLab, and designed, constructed, and programmed in collaboration with Sean Pace and Zach Corse.

The cymatic water table has been exhibited and performed at various locations including the California Academy of Sciences, Maker Faire Bay Area, and Science Hack Day. Vibrafication versions of the piece have played various datasets. Performance versions have been driven by a feed from a live band and manually by visitors to the piece.

This video is of 37.75°N 122.55°W 19060418T051200, a 2015 installation at Science Hack Day San Francisco turns seismological data from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake into water vibrations as a real-time playback of the earthquake.