'Dust Serenade' is a reenactment of an acoustic experiment done by German physicist August Kundt. Inspired by the Chladni's famous sand figures visualizing sound waves in solid materials, Kundt devised an experiment for visualizing longitudinal sound waves through fine lycopodium dust; a setup that would allow him to measure the speed of sound in different gases. Kundt was a strong believer in experimental methods over purely theoretical inquiry in a time when the disciplines of theoretical and experimental physics started to diverge.
'Dust Serenade' intends to remind us the materiality of sound. Tubes filled with scraps of words and letters–cut-up theory–interact with sound waves and turn into figures of dust. Here, visitors can modulate the frequency of the sound emitted by moving a rod and create different harmonic sound effects. As sound waves figure, refigure, and disfigure the text, we invite visitors to rethink about the tension between their theoretical knowledge and the sensory experience.
Also see our entry 1866 – Kundt’s Tube.