Salvador Dali – Persistence of Memory – Ottawa Music – Nova Spire Sound Art Installation

The “Persistence of Memory” sound art installation was an exercise I did in 2012. It was created during the period I created my EP Visions. I never have read a review or any form of speculation of Dali’s painting, “Persistence of Memory” as I wanted to leave my own footprint, my interpretation of the image in an auditory format.

In this regard, I was not swayed by any interpretation during its creation. Creating music through image or moving pictures has always been intriguing to me. What I have learned in practicing this exercise is that though the many abstractions between these mediums (Visual and Auditory), there are several elements and principles of art that can be paralleled and used harmoniously.

Line, Shape, Form, Space, Texture, Colour, Value, Balance, Contrast. I find these elements are easily be adopted and replaced with frequencies. To a large degree this how I experience much of music and abstract sounds themselves.

When I created this track the questions I asked were: How does it make me feel? Where am I? What would I hear if I was inside this painting? Are visuals geometric or organic? Is there motion? What are the colours and how can I systematically break this down into its most simplistic form. Thus, It is a different interpretation modulated by the senses.

The track actually begins at allegretto pace at about 92bpm. As you become more submerged and absorbed in the image or this new reality, the music slows to a crawl – lento, down to 60 bpm which enhances the feeling of suspension and immersion which I always found striking by this original work of Dali.

A lot of the track has to do with balance of the image itself. This is the reason why it tends to be a very stereographic track. I try to make the sound as three dimensional as possible. I tend to arrange elements so there is a balance and paralleling the image itself.

Objects in the distance of the painting can heard in the distance as I interpret them. Objects closer are heard much closer. For instance, there is an instance within the song that there are what sound like critters – insects. These are panned on the left side of track and this is exactly what I am viewing in the image itself – insects.There is movement with the song as I slow the down the pitch, it makes them more dynamic, intense and emphasized.

Track has many subtleties to be interpreted. For instance, the synthetic wind sounds sparesly applied in the track is an actual synthesized bitmap image of the painting “Persistence of Memory” itself, which should be able to be experienced through a sonogram/spectrogram of audio which interprets the music in different colours, according to the frequencies. However, it wasn’t the intended purpose of creating an image with the actual image of Dali’s “Persistence of Memory” within the track. But rather creating modified, modulated tones with the actual image itself. So, to a degree you can say I have Dali embedded within the wind!

With the end results I am humbled and in awe of this conversion of visual and auditory waves. It is an attempt of painting through sound – for a synesthesiac.

3 thoughts on “Salvador Dali – Persistence of Memory – Ottawa Music – Nova Spire Sound Art Installation

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