Anāhata: The Unstruck Sound
2017 - Present
Meditative Kinetic Painting, Sound Installation and Performance Art
Anāhata is the Heart Chakra in the Hindu Yogic, Shakta and Buddhist Tantric traditions. Loosely translated into being ‘unstruck’ or ‘unhurt’, it relates to the primordial sound of emptiness associated with serenity, (meditative) absorption, unconditional love and non-duality.
Originally built in a chassis resembling the 12 petalled lotus of the Heart Chakra, Anāhata is an ongoing series of cymatic art installations and performances, combining sound and art with the means of science and technology.
Cymatics is a process in which the vibrations of sound is passed through a medium (in this case, a liquid), patterns emerge in the excitatory medium depending on the the driving frequency. In this work, an element of chaos and complexity is included due to the interactions of 2 liquids of different densities and polarities, namely, oil and water. The vibrations of Jireh’s voice are visualised through the dance of oil and water, creating an ever-changing painting.
Aligning with the notion of the 'unstruck' sound, this series is a meditative exploration into reconciling the dualities of doing/non-doing, action/non-action. Notably, this unique modality of ‘painting’ with sound eliminates the 'artist’s hand' in the making of the art work - an 'unpainted painting'. The artist relinquishes his personal, immanent control in the spontaenous emergence of the seemingly chaotic visuals. At the same time, the artist’s transcendental presence still felt tangibly in the artist’s setting up of the conditions and infrastructure which allows the immanent translation of the sonic to the visual - of one form of phenomena to another.
As part of the Singapore Art and Local Technology (S.A.L.T) collective, the Anāhata Series has been presented in different editions at the Funan Show-centre as part of Singapore Design Week (2017), Singapore Makers’ Faire (2018) and Singapore Makers’ Extravaganza at the Singapore Science Centre (2019).
Jireh was also invited to present the work at MakerLand (2018) as part of the Bekraf Habibie Festival at Jakarta, Indonesia , including presenting an Artist’s talk to students, as well as participating in a panel discussion.
Wuwei Performance Art Festival 2019
Anāhata was also presented at Stamford Arts Centre as part of the Wuwei Performance series #4 in 2019, combining cymatics and live performance. In this edition, Jireh’s voice and song was recorded and layered live via live-looping technology, the kinetic visuals generated real-time by the cymatic process through the interactions between the artist’s voice and liquids.
Anāhata X The Presence Project
For Reasons Undisclosed / Amorphous Thing
2020 & 2023
Anāhata X The Presence Project is a series of interdisciplinary collaborations with choreographer Dr Peter Gn. For Reasons Undisclosed cuts across the disciplinary boundaries of visual arts, music and dance by capitalising on Peter’s expertise in dance/movement as well as Philip Tan’s expertise on sonic technologies.
Cymatics pertains to the science and art of visualising audio frequencies and vibrational phenomena. In this collaboration, the sounds of Philip’s music are visualised through the black oil and clear water. These sonic waves stimulate the interaction between two fluids of differing densities and colours, thereby generating an ever-changing painting.
In line with Dr Gn's PhD research into the notion of ‘presence within stillness’, the video art is a meditative exploration into reconciling the dualities of doing/non-doing, action/non-action. Notably, this unique modality of ‘painting’ with sound eliminates the 'artist’s hands' in the making of the art work, thereby veering away from traditional forms of mark-making. More pertinently, the dance (or interplay) between oil and water also embodies the dance between permanence/impermanence, presence/absence, being/becoming.
The outcome of this multi-sensorial, multi-disciplinary engagement is an immersive and synergistic collision of sights, sounds and soma. Informed by Peter’s open-ended choreography, dancers respond on-site, in real-time, to the music and the visuals generated in the process. Although the visual elements of the cymatic installations are derived from sound and movement, they are by no means any less significant to this production or subservient to any other part of the work.
As an ongoing exchange between Dr Peter Gn and Jireh, the visuals were reprised in Amorphous Thing as part of the Fluid Entities Dance Festival in 2023, with music by Marvin Leung.
For Reasons Undisclosed