Bethany Shorb’s Painting Machine

4.25"x6" Post Card Template

My friend, Detroit’s ridiculously talented Bethany Shorb, has a new show opening at New York’s Devotion Gallery on Sept. 13 (and running until Oct. 25). I’ve always been fascinated by “Chladni plates,” usually steel plates covered in sand or salt to which soundwaves are applied. The resulting vibrations create cool mandala-like patterns in the material on the plate. Bethany’s work, derived from this method, kicks things up a few zillion decibels. From the show’s press release:

With an adoring nod toward science-fair kitsch, Shorb re-creates classic sonic experiments with a modified sub-woofer, tone generation software, and industrial pigments typically used in the automotive industry. As the input amplitude is increased and a harmonic frequency found, the powdered pigment bounces about on the aluminum plates until settling at nodal points (areas of no movement) and moving away from antinodal points (areas of intense vibration) thereby producing intricate patterns of linear motion and cyclonic rotation which are then immobilized into a single, sonorous visualization. When more plates from the same frequency are tiled together, more of the waveform comes into view, reminiscent of Tibetan Buddhist mandalas; a cenophobic adornment seen through a hyper-colored prismatic, low-rider metallic-flaked lens.

I’m hoping to see this show while I’m in NY for World Maker Faire (Sept 21-22). The show is at another friend, Phoenix Perry’s Devotion Gallery:

Devotion is a Williamsburg gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design. We present cross-disciplinary work that draws from architecture, computation, gaming, biology, fabrication, interface design, open-source communities, cloud computing, sound, and complexity. We are always seeking out artists who use new technologies or introduce new paradigms.

Go check it out and support this amazing artist and innovative space.

Bethany Shorb: Painting Machines: Klangfiguren (Sound Figures)
OPENING: Opens at Devotion Gallery, Friday September 13, 2013
LOCATION: 54 Majuer St at Lorimer. L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitian
CONTACT: Phoenix at or

Published by Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

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