The installation “Singing cymbals” by the Dutch duo Petra Dubach and Mario van Horrik is part of a long-term research project entitled “Waves,” which is devoted to the exploration of the relationship between sound and movement (as well as image). The work is based on the physical principle of Cymatics - the visualisation of sound waves and their translation into motion - manifested in the vibration of objects. Loudspeakers are replaced by transducers, shakers or subwoofers, which produce standing waves.
The artists’ conceptualization of sound (and music) reflects, in a sense, a pythagorean universe that balances the constant flux of changes within the ethernal geometry of the material world. By means of sensitive instruments and minimal movement in the electromagnetic environment, the artists invoke unstable drones of sliding (dis)harmony, gently oscillating on the edge of various tonal scales.
The work “Singing cymbals” at Gallery Školská 28 transforms the architecture of the gallery space into a resonant acoustical instrument which is interactive in the truest sense of the word. The installation consists of a sound source heard through four speakers-"shakers", shivering of strings stretched horizontally across the ceiling, from which are suspended strings with wooden clothes pegs that resonate on the cymbals lying on the floor. The room pulses with subsonic standing waves (beyond human hearing), which interferes with bodies of the passing visitors. The emerging feedback then alters the “behavior” of the resonating strings and also a variable quartet of tinkling cymbals.
Petra Dubach and Mario van Horrik have stated that sound, matter and motion are identical, or at least tightly linked: without movement (vibration) sound could not propagate and we would hear nothing. This perspective constitutes their approach to various media and genres: sound installations, site specific works, or performances created by the duo. In their repertoire you will find the most mundane materials, as well as “ordinary” physical phenomena: the audio feedback, resonance of long steel piano strings, paper, copper and aluminum sheets, glass tables, fans, artificial and natural light, electric and acoustic guitars. This is all in the context of post-minimalism and an extended experience of time. The artists use digital technology if necessary, but prefer to abide in the analog universe.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, their sound installations have been presented in many galleries and museums, such as: Ujazdowski Palace in Warsaw, Art in General in New York, Palmovka Synagogue Prague, Cinema Rex in Belgrade, Gallery Artetage in Vladivostok, Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, the Amber Festival in Istanbul, and other places. They have performed concerts at New Yorks Art Center for Experimental Intermedia, the Stedelijk Museum, Interzone Festival, Ringring Festival, BOA, Ghent LOGOS Center, Festival of Experimental Music in Munich, Audio Art Festival in Krakow, Symposium Hermit in Plasma Festival Castle of the Imagination, PAF, Cuba Culture, Interakczje, Spritzenhaus, and others.
They are members of the group Antarctica, and Mario van Horrik is part of The Maciunias Ensemble.
In parallel with the exhibition at Školská 28 one can listen to their composition “Circumstantial Flex” using headphones in the adjoining Gallery Díra.