Monday, 2 September 2013

Margaret Watts-Hughes and the Eidophone

Back many years ago now when I was beginning to research drawn sound work more heavily Rob Mullender very kindly let me look at the Oramics machine up close in his workshop (I think Mick Grierson who let me look at the Oramics archive also had something to do with it but I am a sieve brain) Rob makes some very cool work which deserves it's own post (and will get one some day soon) but I couldn't resist re blogging and adding to his post on Margaret Watts-Hughes a very early cymatics pioneer. Please visit Robs blog and check out his links as he plumbs some really interesting audio visual depths and returns from the mines with some rare gems!

Margaret Watts-Hughes was a Welsh soprano who gave up singing when she married, to concentrate on philanthropy and scientific research. Her Eidophone images developed in 1885 resulted from experiments with measuring the intensity of voice through vibration of seeds on a membrane, she then developed this process to enable her to capture images and as Rob points out also created some early time based media as she began dragging the Eidophone's membrane across the glass as she sang creating a sort of "proto optical sound recordings; although admittedly not in an analytically useful sense like the 'Phonautograph's', but rather more beautiful" Very Pioneering work. 

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