Project thunder

  • A photograph of Project   thunder by Alexander Savvas

Project Thunder is an audiovisual installation. Made of a number of long, thin sheets of steel suspended from the ceiling of a dimly lit room. A diffuser fills the space with humidity and the scent of rain. The polished exterior of the steel reflects its surroundings. Propelled by a motor, the sheets gyrate back and forth creating an all-surrounding cacophony reminiscent of thunder. As the metal vibrates the reflections in it become liquified. Depending upon the site of the installation, the number of sheets and arrangements vary. For example, in a smaller square-shaped room the sheets are suspended along the interior walls. In a larger space, one can create an encompassing circle in the centre of the room or a long corridor that participants must pass through. The individually controlled vibrations of each sheet. Allow the creation of a cascading visual and audible scape, as waves of sound and movement are projected around the space.

The intention is to present a simple, non-organic object. Which is then used to create a space that is as dynamic, transportive and sensory heightening, as a completely natural environment. In the same way, a forest strips you of the intensity or noise of the city and frees your thoughts, instilling a more intune connection to yourself, and your surroundings. When entering the space the sweet grounding smell of a thunderstorm is ripe in the air. The resonating sounds bombard the participant. Initially becoming the forefront of one’s thoughts. The sound is so fixating and present that it clears the mind of all other noise putting the participant in a somewhat meditative state. As one approaches the vibrating pieces of steel their reflection is seen within it.

However, their reflection is warping in unison with the sound waves they’re hearing. The piece of steel becomes a window into a transcendent dimension. It is hypnotising to see these waves. The waves of energy that carry sound and light, that flow through and around us. As one listens they are drawn deeper into the sound, endlessly noticing subtle new frequencies. Once leaving the space, the participant may feel like they have experienced a cathartic release, renewed and switched on to what surrounds them.

A combination of different lengths and the ability to change the individual wave speed of each piece of steel. Allows for diverse and varying tones and volumes to be created. These settings allow Project Thunder to be played as a massive scalable musical instrument. Each sheet a different note. With it the possibility to compose specific three-dimensional audiovisual journeys.

The effect of this installation aims to synthesize the effects of natural phenomena. Like that of listening to the rumble of thunder, or the crashing of a waterfall. The industrial makeup and aesthetic of this abstract natural phenomenon antithesize its effect. Alluding to the strained relationship between people and nature. Though we may try to impose our will on the natural world, its patterns call to us. Even in our most crowded cities. Project Thunder is a reminder of how refreshing it feels to be surrounded by nature’s uncontrollable harmonics.

Materials: Stainless steel, mild steel, DC motor


Creator: Alexander Savvas

Contributors: Thinking Studio