Forget the traditional potter’s wheel. The unique textures of these clay sculptures capture the vibrations of actual sound waves, thanks to a novel form of 3D printed “sonic ceramics”.
They are the product of an intriguing collaboration called “Solid Vibration” between two Dutch artists: spatial sound designer Ricky van Broekhven and industrial designer Olivier van Herpt, who has a penchant for tinkering with digital fabrication technologies. The two men came up with the idea of mounting a speaker below a 3D ceramics printing platform. Then they played a variety of sounds as the printer did its thing. The vibrations from the sounds changed the printing pattern, giving the resulting pots a kind of knitted texture.
Perhaps this reminds you of that X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully head to Hollywood to look into the mysterious “Lazarus Bowl” — an ancient piece of pottery said to have recorded Jesus’ words as he raised Lazarus from the dead.
That’s not what this is. (Besides, the Mythbusters debunked the possibility of playing back sounds “recorded” onto pottery, ancient or otherwise, back in 2006.)
It’s actually a means of building solid physical representations of “noisescapes”, and while to date they have just used fairly abstract sounds, there’s no reason this couldn’t be extended to create a physical representation of your favourite song, or your wedding vows. As Herpt explains on his website, “A moment in time, a song, a sound, they can now become objects that encapsulate the moment forever.”
Image: 3D printed sonic ceramics. Credit: Studio van Broekhoven.