Breaking down hierarchical structures within human perception, WHITE SILENCE is an audio-visual installation that examines the idea of erasure: cultural, personal, and perceptual.
Taking its name from the Black Lives Matter slogan, “White Silence Equals Violence”, the work looks toward the concept of White Noise (all frequencies of the audible spectrum) and White Light (all frequencies of the visible spectrum) and imagines its negation: White Silence. What does it sound like? What does it look like? Is White Silence as deafening/blinding as it is violent? Are there inherent biases in our audio-visual perception that can teach us something about our own gender/race/religious biases and power dynamics? In WHITE SILENCE I explore the idea of erasure through psychophysical effects: standing waves, phase cancellation, flicker fusion threshold, etc; using these as tools to create an environment that actively attempts to erase itself, and by doing so reveals the nature of how we experience the world and our place within it.
WHITE SILENCE is composed of multichannel sound and a custom built LED lighting system that allows for high speed precision color changes. The work centers around a phenomena called Flicker Fusion Threshold, or the rate at which flickering light appears continuous. The installation itself is a sort of anti-spectacle: with no sculptural objects, just a constant bright white light and minimal sound. However, movement of the eyes, body, or objects in the room reveal shifts of saturated colors, patterns, sounds, and even texts that are embedded within the white light. This is accomplished through a manipulation of the Flicker Fusion Threshold: the light in the room is actually never white, but appears white due to incredibly fast changing of colors beyond the threshold of what our brains can distinguish. Flicker Fusion is a balancing act between many parameters (intensity, angle, rate, etc), and by subtly shifting any of these (including through viewer movement) this threshold is broken and a rich choreography of colors and text are revealed. Similar sonic techniques are used, such as standing waves that create silent areas in the room, phase cancellation which can reveal and hide sounds by subtly shifting one’s head, and an auditory equivalent of Flicker Fusion which deconstructs constant tones into rhythms or noise through spatialization.
Here is a video of an example of the same lighting matrix system that will be used in White Silence. Please note that the sequencing/audio here is from another work that uses the same system. This does not demonstrate the light phenomena that will be used in White Silence, just the lighting matrix:
Flicker Fusion Audio Equivalent is similar to the technique used in When The Sound Of Your Voice Resonate Like Time which was a work for Wave Field Synthesis Sound System.
Standing Wave and Otoacoustic Techniques similar to that used in Look You What Me Made Do.
Phase Cancellation similar to that used in Ear Pressure.
Lighting system similar to that used in The Sound Of Light In A Silent Room.