Emphasising universal individuality, The Power of Sound photographed by Jordan-Lee Garbutt aims to visually manifest a consciously liberating idea. Through the manipulation of sound frequencies, the displacement of effervescent paints, and Garbutt’s use of contrast and colour gradients; the subjects in his artwork organically transverse from sound waves into a visual cacophony imprinted upon metal. On exhibit from 7 to 30 July at Garbutt’s studio in Woodstock, the work showcases the vastness of the Universe’s potential for variability.
Within his work, Garbutt explores the transformation of energy – from sound to kinetic – culminating in a visual presentation that celebrates the individuality in everything. The subject matter lends itself to vivid storytelling told through collaboration with writer and poet Mo Libretto. His inspiring poetic narratives, coupled with a profound and galvanising message carry the energy imprint of the anomaly in the occurrence of The Power the Sound.
“Even though similarities can be observed, no matter what we do, the actions we take can never have precisely the same outcomes as someone else’s; there are simply too many Universal variables acting on cause and effect relationships,” says Garbutt of his work. “From the smallest interactions, to the largest most obscure and cosmologically grand and abstract constructs, this idea is prevalent. Differences will manifest themselves across contexts, scales and perspectives.”
The Power of Sounds explores and celebrates this idea. It captures the culmination of these differing variables in the transference of sound energy through to kinetic; it observes singularities, once off occurrences at a single moment in time.
Inspiration for this project stems from Garbutt’s intensely personal relationship with the concept. Whilst looking for ways to express this idea through photography, he stumbled across a work by Martin Klimas titled Sound Sculptures that dealt with the representation of popular music through paint eruption, using a similar process. Garbutt realised that if he played the same songs twice, controlling precisely the same variables he would attain two different results. The two images would hold similar attributes, but the paint movement and shape would be different each time due to the infinite number of uncontrollable forces it encounters; the Universal Variability.
“It exemplified my concept of uniqueness in everything, even after the same causal action. Rather than using popular music, however, I opted to use sound frequencies to produce more distinct, clearer, smaller and cleaner imagery that would bring forth distinct stories through compelling imagery,” adds Garbutt.
Using opposing colour schemes for vibrancy, depth and sheer aesthetic beauty, Garbutt managed to capture photographs that aligned with the concept. The stark contrast between the colours enhances the idea of variability. Moreover, the backgrounds and lighting of the images differ, elaborating on the mood and overall feel and tone of the compositions.
“The process involved time and meticulous observation of what the paint was doing,” recounts Garbutt. “I played various sound frequencies through a speaker, which acted as the sound energy source – the big bang as we like to call it. The frequency sound waves transferred energy through the film, causing the paint to erupt.
“The surface the speaker was placed upon, the volume, the frequency and the thickness of the paint, were some of the variables that could be controlled. The Universe provided the rest.”
Each eruption’s colour, shape and imagery was different, even if the variables were exactly the same. It exemplified the concept. In order to achieve the final result, the controllable variables were meticulously tweaked repeatedly, to the extent that thousands of photographs were taken.
Working closely with ORMS Direct, Garbutt selected metal diabond as the material to best showcase the images. The metal adds a 3D effect, such that a change in viewing angle effectively sheds a different perspective and in turn reflects a different result. Two people could stand next to each other and view a different perspective of each piece. This in itself illustrates the variability of perspective.
Garbutt meeting the poet Mo Libretto made for a perfect collaboration. Libretto’s words, storyline, and narrative structure intersect with the images for a powerful symbiosis, and thus each exhibition piece is accompanied by a poetic narrative. “The storylines explore the human condition. They illustrate Universal Variability’s role in life’s differing perspectives. They inspire a call to love here, now, and this,” explains Libretto.
In conclusion, Garbutt adds: “My mantra is to change the consciousness of the world by opening people up to new experiences and emotions that affect their outlooks in positive ways.”
The Power of Sound will be exhibited from 7 to 30 July at The Balcony, 157 Victoria Road, Woodstock, Cape Town.
Social media information for photographer Jordan-Lee Garbutt