Ouroboros: Tears, 7-inch playable vinyl phonotrope

A video showcasing my limited edition artist’s multiple 7-inch playable vinyl phonotrope.

The ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake devouring its own tail and represents cycles of birth, death, and renewal. Much like the animated loop, the ouroboros is designed to perpetually start, end, and then restart again. While the endless repetition of a looped sequence is commonplace in the realm of animation, a deeper and more profound reading can be teased out of these loops when placed within the context of the ouroboros, which represents cycles of nature to which humanity is inextricably bound. These cycles can include waves of pandemics that recur throughout history and serve as stark reminders that “history repeats” as we collectively look back at the past for models of how pandemics tend to play out. Cycles of loss and renewal can take many forms: the loss of life, the loss of relationships, and the loss of livelihood have effected the lives of many people during this current pandemic. Even given all these various losses, the seed of hope lies buried within the ouroboros cycle itself by virtue of its very design. With every end, a new beginning must start for the cycle to reset and continue, and it is this promise of renewal that offers hope. 

OUROBOROS:TEARS focuses on cycles of grief and mourning. The music on this disc was created by my collaborator Zev Farber. Interwoven within the repeating music loop of the soundtrack are audio fragments that recall electronic voice phenomena (EVP), sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices by parapsychologists (listen closely between 01:20 and 01:40).

This artist’s multiple is available for purchase in my Online Shop.

Experiments with phonotropes (part 2)

The first two phonotropes I’ve created for my current project.

After long last, I have finished the construction and assembly of my wedding cake” phonotrope, complete with all its various paper layers. In the rough, off-the-cuff smartphone video posted below, I give the phonotrope a quick whirl on my turntable.

Quick demonstration video of my vertical paper phonotrope. Music in this video created by Zev Farber.
Close-up of “wedding cake” phonotrope.

 The imagery on this phonotrope includes a twirling gold wedding ring, a hand holding this same ring, a snake that twists and turns into a variation on a figure-eight, and a weeping lover’s eye. Lover’s eye jewellery was popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s, when stylish aristocratic men and women often wore the miniature portraits depicting one eye (usually) of their spouse or lover. Typically painted on ivory, the tiny portraits were fashioned as brooches, rings, pendants, and lockets. The lover’s eye is surrounded by an ouroburos (a snake devouring its own tail, symbolic of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth), which ties back to the snake loop below (itself a looping infinity symbol) which appears on the first layer of this phonotrope.

I plan on building two more phonotropes, making the total number of phonotropes for my proposed installation four. Stay tuned.

Incidentally, below is a video of the first phonotrope in this series — this one prominently features a medusae jellyfish.

Phonotrope with medusae jellyfish, seahorses and waving seaweed.

Further investigations with phonotropes

Testing out the first layer of my vertical paper phonotrope.

In the video posted above, I’m testing out the first layer of my second phonotrope project (you can read about my technical process and first phonotrope here). I decided to play around with varying the number of frames in each animation, resulting in the animation moving horizontally. If you add frames, the animation moves right-to-left; if you subtract, it moves left-to-right. The snake in the centre has the “correct” number of frames (32) so it remains in the same location.

The flattened artwork. It’s shown 2-up, because I always like to print a spare.

Thinking about building an interior framework with balsa wood + dowling to minimize the wobble of the paper at the top. (The taller the paper structure gets, the more prone it is to wobble when rotated).

Now, on to the next layer/s for this phonotrope. Thinking of having one, and maybe two, additional layers on the inside of this phonotrope. Stay tuned.