Microsonic Landspaces – Song As 3D Sculptures

Microsonic Landspaces

Moving beyond ubiquitous 2D visualizations of sound, Juan Manuel de J. Escalante (Realität) proposes a series of 3D sculptures that explore a new direction in the visual representation of music. “Microsonic Landspaces” is a series of 5 futuristic artifacts created with the data visualization software Processing, which translates certain parameters of a track (e.g. volume) into a 3D visualization. This 3D data is then printed using Markerbot, an open source 3D printer. Looking at the objects on the artist’s website, it becomes clear that the tracks from each album are printed in a concentric way – as on vinyl records – but, in contrast with grooves on a record, the varying height of the sculptures gives a precise insight into the musical material they refer to, drawing peaks and valleys in a landscape (hence the title of the work). Nick Drake’s soft voice and subtle guitar in Pink Moon create a peaceful series of hills, while the electronic sound of Portishead’s “Third” is readily recognizable through its spiky and almost artificial panorama. The vinyl analogy lives on through the choice of the material, but these objects are far looking “retro”. Their shape and the uneven, analogue-like texture created by Makerbot, conveys the impression of objects coming from a near future, or from an old sci-fi movie. With 3D printers becoming more widespread, and with increasing support from software like Processing, the day will soon arrive when we will be able to receive a 3D sculpture of our favourite album as a gift.

Alessandro Saccoia