Makers Marks: Glass in Translation

Metaphorical language uses association and combination of concepts to aid in human understanding of the new and unfamiliar. This is often true for artists’ articulation of original work developed through creative processes. Musicians sometimes use visual language to describe sounds in color, texture, shape, and weight. “Glass in Translation” sought to exploit that metaphorical language of the visual in the aural, studying the creative process and creating new works in sound and glass, based on sounds of glass-making itself. The project premise was to extract sounds of glass-making to isolate them for examination and manipulation, and then to put these sounds back into glass forms. Our recording engineer captured sounds of the glass-making process by glass artists. He cleaned and isolated the sounds, formatting them digitally. These were offered as a library for our composer/sound designer team to develop. They transformed these source sounds into working virtual instruments for use in musical compositions, soundscapes, and sound effects. The composers then chose some of the new virtual instrument sounds and described them to the glass designers. Based on their written descriptions and her own experience listening to the new sounds, the glass designer created sketches for new glass pieces and later worked with a team of glass artists to realize the sketches in glass. Team members on "Glass in Translation" include Lisa Naas, David Faleris, Ingrid Phillips, Meg McGregor, Alessandro Mastroianni, Antriksh Bali, and Marcin Pietruszewski. Read more about the project, in the Research Through Design Conference paper 'Makers Marks: Glass in Translationby Lisa Naas.

Ewok Machine - Antriksh Bali
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Ewok Machine

Antriksh Bali says that his new sound has the shape of a “deformed cylinder (broken up from the inside)” and is  “purple/white”, “sharp/grainy”, with “irregular fragments of transparent material”. Bali created the new sound from splicing numerous source sounds and working with a composite.

Makers Whirlpool - David Faleris
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Makers Whirlpool

David Faleris describes Makers Whirlpool as “funnel or cone shape, wide base...  perfectly round, perhaps slightly distorted or static-y in texture, but solid and strong.  Comes up to a hollow and thin vertical pipe shape on top, clean and free of distortion/static." He writes that the "color also moves from dark at the base to light on top. Dark blue/green on up to something more transparent and light. A small sweeping gesture of color runs through for one moment in the middle... not parallel nor perpendicular, but at an angle, as if being sucked towards the top but in a circular motion.... almost like a reverse whirlpool or black hole.” He used several of the source audio sounds to develop this new sound. 

Italian Nightmares - Alessandro Mastroianni
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Italian Nightmares

Alessandro Mastroianni developed the sound from the glassmaking process of using wet newspaper to shape hot glass.

He says that this sound is “a very heavy looking sound. Despite its weight though, it doesn’t have any snapping quality, telling me that [it] is, again, rather smooth than sharp. The color of this one is a transparent, dark grey.”

© 2015-2021 by Lisa L. Naas

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