The imperceptible signals that surround us, resonate
in the sound art of Stephanie Castonguay
"To be engaged with the electronic medium is to engage with so much more, through which there is an uncanny relation to nature. We tend to forget that our daily electronics are composed of our earthly resources. Strangely, probing circuits was the closest way I have found to touching the stars from a distance."--Stephanie Castonguay
Capturing Light Frequencies
Capturing Light Frequencies (2021)
Modified scanner heads are used as experimental audiovisual devices to capture the reflection of artifacts, such as minerals and electronic residuals, embedded into bio-plastic materials. These objects become some sort of graphic notation, allowing the hacked scanners to translate through sound and moving images our analog world into their poetic machine-reality. In this process, magnification and temporal distortion decontextualize the physical matter, revealing an abstract landscape reminiscent of the visual aesthetics of spectral analysis. Echoing the origin of technology, the re-appropriation of these devices evokes the concepts of time and memory through an archaeological approach to media.
Essay by Erin Gee, CAPTURING LIGHT FREQUENCIES: Towards sonic languages of electronic encounter. Read it here
Commissioned by Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario gn-o.org
Stephanie, I was happy to discover your sound art during the meetings I was invited to have with MUTEK 2021 Forum's featured artists. You're working with the elements of chemistry and physics of light and energy present in the earth and universe, and creating a poetic experience of them.
Working with electronics as a medium has become an aesthetic and artistic language that is interwoven into my practice in so many ways. When we examine the lexical field used in electronics, we find that there is the usage of words such as "resistance", "current", or "tension" which are used to describe different states on a technical level. But these words could easily describe the social body or emotional states. In my definition, by extension, the usage of language can emphasize this idea of transformation, often in interrelation or in duality to something else.
In recent projects, I became increasingly curious in exploring multiple ways of transforming energy-matter in the most low-fi and doable way possible. For example, I often work with solar panels as a means of transposing the frequencies of visible light into audible signals, thus transforming a form of energy into a new expression of itself.
My use of luminous signals serves to highlight the interconnectivity of all things and our relation to what surrounds us: the visible and the imperceivable. By amplifying what is imperceptible to our senses through such low-fi techniques, I also reveal a gap in interpretation from which a poetic expression can emerge.
Poetry somehow escapes our perceptual limitations, and it is within this gap that I seek to capture a sense of awareness. For me, to be engaged with the electronic medium is to engage with so much more, through which there is an uncanny relation to nature. We tend to forget that our daily electronics are composed of our earthly resources. Strangely, probing circuits was the closest way I have found to touching the stars from a distance.
Light is a fascinating medium to work with, which recalls alchemy. Light is the fastest way to travel and in an expansive universe, this means that by the time it reaches our gaze, the object of our observation is long gone. To that extent, one can only conclude that we are living in the past, illuminated by the obsolete. The idea of disappearance can feel scary, yet, it is in this apparent darkness that holds infinite possibilities.