Fabian Oefner’s Dancing Colors Puts Sound Waves Into Colors


All images by Fabian Oefner. Used with permission.

Photographer Fabian Oefner was born 1984 in Switzerland and calls himself a curious investigator, photographer and artist, whose work moves between the fields of art and science. His images capture in unique and imaginative ways natural phenomena that appear in our daily lives, such as sound waves, centripetal forces, iridescence, or the unique properties of magnetic ferroliquids–and that’s the idea behind Dancing Colors.

“Photography has always been an important role in communicating my ideas as an artist to the world.” Fabian tells us. “It has been and still is my tool to explore new discoveries and expand my artistic expression.”

The inspiration for Dancing Colors came from his reading about different techniques of visualizing sound waves in a magazine, such as pouring sand onto a speaker, working with non-newtonian fluid, etc. “What I particularly liked about it was the fact that you transfer one sensory input into a different realm of senses, going from audio to visual.” he states.

Though this project looks fairly simply, lots of trial and error went into it. He needed to shoot lots and lots of photos. “I started by putting different grains on the speaker, rice, millet or sand and looked at the way they react to the sound waves. Eventually I came up with the idea of using salt, as it proved to be just right in terms of weight/height of bouncing off the surface of the speaker.” Fabian then added color to the scene by adding pigments to the salt.

“After finding the perfect material to use, it was fun to try out different sounds and styles of music and see what different outputs I get. In the end its a very playful approach that I have to art. Its something that evolves naturally.”

Fabian has been working with ideas like this for a while and eventually opened up an installation. That lead to a deal with Peugeot Design Lab, who asked if he would like to collaborate with them on an installation for Milan Design Week. Then presented “Field of Sound“ at the Salone about a month ago, and he tells us it was a huge success.

More from Dancing Colors is after the jump.

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