Disinformation, The Analysis of Beauty, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh

The first instalment of gap in the air festival took place in November with a mesmerising in-situ sound and video piece by noise DJ, artist and researcher Joe Banks. Working under the guise of Disinformation since 1995, Banks has pioneered the use of electromagnetic (radio) noise from sources such as mains electricity, lightning, laboratory equipment, and even the sun, to generate malleable sonic material. For The Analysis of Beauty at the Talbot Rice’s Georgian Gallery, Banks found inspiration in William Hogarth’s famous thesis on serpentine lines and his belief that S-shaped lines were active, lively and stimulating, and therefore beautiful.

Taking into consideration architect William Playfair’s design for the Georgian Gallery and Hogarth’s passion for the ‘line of beauty’, Banks united both architecture and the beauty of S-shaped lines through a minutely-tuned assemblage of pure musical sinusoidal waves. Considered as the modern-day serpentine lines, these scrupulously crafted sine-waves resonated throughout the gallery in a liltingly hypnotic and captivating way. Through the use of signals generated from a laboratory oscillator and oscilloscope, Banks was able to create an in-situ piece of ‘standing-waves’, which when amplified through the use of 16 speakers, invited visitors to explore a sublime interplay of resonating ‘gallery’ acoustics.

A celebration of music and sonic art, the gap in the air programme continues until 14 February with an array of performance and installation pieces from experimental musicians and artists. The festival also features exclusive workshops and academic discussions by university staff and students. Over the next few months the neo-classical space of the Georgian Gallery plays the role of a sounding-box for the most prescient themes in contemporary sonic art.

The Analysis of Beauty, ran from 15-29 November, Georgian Gallery, Talbot Rice, University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL.

More information on gap in the air can be found at www.digital.eca.ed.ac.uk/gap-in-air.

Art in Scotland & Summerhall TV, video documentation: The Analysis of Beauty. To see more, visit www.artinscotland.tv/2014/disinformation-the-analysis-of-beauty.

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1. The Analysis of Beauty (2014). Courtesy of Art in Scotland and Summerhall TV.