“Cymatic Ground” by Tobias Klein, Álvaro Cassinelli

  • ©, Tobias Klein and Álvaro Cassinelli, Cymatic Ground


    Cymatic Ground

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Artist Statement:

    Hacnum Exhibition. various locations, May 16 – 21

    Cymatic Ground (Alvaro Cassinelli & Tobias Klein 2022) is an interactive audio-visual installation and the “Second Garden” in Klein’s larger Three Gardens exhibition (Tobias Klein, 2022). Located within the buildings of Oi! (Oil Street Art Space in Hong Kong), the second garden is a hybrid between an architectural representation and a sonic scultpture. It is an interactive model – an installation in which the audience can explore the relationship between shape, geometry, resonance and energy. This garden takes reference from the dry stone garden concept, where the absence of water is made visible through carefully composed arrangements of rocks and gravel that is raked to represent ripples and waves. The second garden is an industrial garden made from laser-cut and acid etched steel plates. It is a resonating, ephemeral garden where sand is carried as liquid flowing in reverberating patterns. Combining Art and Science in interdisciplinary collaboration, we created a sonic extension of the landscape as a liquid shapeless continuum, made visible through vibrations. The work articulates the invisible frequencies within each material and shape, where energies brought into harmonies create overlaying vibration, agitation and movement. These natural frequencies show the interplay between geometry and sound. Like the coastal lines are slowly shaped by the energies carried by the waves of the ocean, the vibrations in the Cymatic Ground uncover the invisible patterns of energies flowing through the landscape.

    The artwork is able to exhibit very complex Chladni patterns thanks to a micro-controller based audio feedback loop that injects energy into the system thus enabling for the complete formation of the sand pattern. Hidden electronics under the table analyse mechanical vibrations (through accelerometers and microphones) and estimate the fundamental from the series of harmonics. Energy is then injected on the corresponding plate using electromagnetically actuated “bass shakers”.

    Three Gardens
    Created by Tobias Klein, Three Gardens presents virtual and actual rock installations designed under the notions of Chinese landscape architecture and brings in new features to Oi!. The first garden exists within the entire Oi!, where elements of architecture, water, plants and rocks pervade the existing and new spaces. The second garden is an interactive installation collaborated with Alvaro Cassinelli that creates sensory experiences for visitors using sound and vibrations. The third garden is a digital garden, which links the audience’s on-the-spot experience with a mobile app to broaden their viewing experience.

    The third garden is neither here nor there – it sits in between. It is based on physical elements yet itself is immaterial. It is playful and explorative, minimal and mathematical, digital and analogue, site-specific and independent. It is a technological garden – a simulation and at the same time a transformation. It is a software landscape in the form of an app that allows the audience to collect experiences from the previous gardens to create their own landscape. We walk through the first garden and scan the space narrated through the Meta-morphs; we feel the vibrations of the Cymatic Ground and record the frequencies of the instrument. All input is transformed into vectors and attractors, virtual rocks and pebbles. Our experiences become invisible forces and their relation to each other in a system. They become the artificial mountains in an artificial garden (假山). The third garden is an arrangement of simulated force attractors that allows the visitor to create an infinite amount of reactive landscape systems. In some ways, the disillusion of the landscape being real and physical, is similar to the painting of it, where water and ink construct like pixels as ground for contemplation and reflection about one’s own position in such a constructed landscape.


Additional Images: