This art installation wants to give the visitors a new experience and an increased awareness of how we can perceive art in different ways. The Phasescope stimulates different senses using technology to create an environment where music exceeds auditory perception. With this experience, they can also visualise and use their imagination with the created images and videos.
We would like to underline the importance of technology in making connections between art forms. For example, today, videos and images are a big part that highlights musical products.
The Phasescope connecs a synthesizer to a laser so that people can come up to it and see their own music in soundwaves. By using technology, anyone can find a reflection of their imagination in real life. After this experience, we want people to be inspired to see art from a different perspective and get acquainted with it even if they don’t have that much artistic knowledge or experience.

The project

A phasescope (or goniometer) plots an audio signal on a two-dimensional area by displaying the amplitude of one audio channel on the x-axis, and the other channel on the y-axis.
We achieved this by sending audio signals into two motors, which rotate two small mirrors. A laser shines onto the two mirrors, one steering the beam along the horizontal, the other on the vertical axis.
When sending a simple sine wave into both channels, the scope will display a straight line, as the amplitudes of the x and y-axis increase and decrease in synchrony. In this case, only the relative volume of the signal is visualized.
If we now delay the signal in one of the channels by a fixed number of milliseconds, we get a very different result. As one channel lags behind the other, the laser beam no longer moves in a straight line, but in an oval shape. The exact shape of this oval depends on the frequency of the sine wave.
With more complex audio from an analogue synthesizer, the phasescope will create intricate shapes and patterns, created by the interferences between different wave shapes and frequencies.

The work is created by Idil Safi (Biomedical Sciences), Erik Stricker Schall (Biomedical Sciences), Anton Donle (Computer Science), and funded by the VU Network Institute.