Beyond 0~20 Hz (To Hear What You Can't Hear)
- Fujui Wang
Sound Installation

1. Description of the project:

Beyond 0~20Hz proposes to bring the imperceptible to human perception. It aims to achieve this by using 0-20Hz (i.e. the inaudible sound frequencies of sine waves) as the main source of sound, while digitally controlling the frequencies and loudness of sounds of 0-20Hz. It is so that the device would generate ‘analog faults’ on the loudspeakers that lead to the production of new forms of sound.

0-20Hz: inaudible sound frequencies

Beyond 0~20Hz uses inaudible sounds of 0-20Hz as the main source of sound-making. By and large, people can hear from 20Hz to 18,000Hz (18 kHz); sounds below 20Hz are infrasonic and therefore inaudible. By applying the infrasonic frequencies as the chief device of sonic-arts practice, the work sets out to explore the unknown and imperceptible, yet exquisite world of sound waves. In other words, Beyond 0~20Hz attempts to find a way to allow people to hear the inaudible.

The use of special (non-ordinary) digital measures for digitally controlling the variations frequency and loudness of sounds

Sounds of 0-20 Hz might be inaudible. Nevertheless, controlling the frequency or loudness of 0-20Hz may result in generating new forms of sounds, such as a click or even a sudden pause; or in some cases, the highly random changes of frequency and loudness may generate noise. In other words, variations in frequency and loudness may effectively create various forms of sounds. It follows that the seemingly inaudible sounds could inadvertently construct new forms of hearing experience.

Hearing → Ears → 0-20Hz (inaudible frequencies) → Deconstruction by digital control → Re-construction by triggering analog faults → New forms of hearing experience

This would appear to be an ‘analog fault’ in the digital control, rather than a ‘digital fault.’

There are a number of ways in which changes of sound frequency and loudness can be digitally controlled:

i. Variations in loudness:
a. specific changes in loudness, including a pause;
b. linear changes in the volume (variations in lengths or in speeds);
c. random and non-linear changes in volume (variations in lengths or in speeds);

ii. Variations in frequency;
a. specific changes frequency;
b. linear changes in frequency (variations in lengths or in speeds)
c. random and non-linear changes in frequency (variations in lengths or in speeds).

The use of loudspeakers as a music instrument instead of a stereophonic sound generator

Beyond 0~20Hz utilizes a total of eight subwoofers. (By and large, stereo devices such as loudspeakers, headphones or power amplifiers do not support infrasonic sounds, i.e. those of 0-20Hz.) It should be noted that the subwoofers used in Beyond 0~20Hz are not intended to function as the sound transmitter. Instead, as the variations of sound frequency and loudness are digitally controlled, the physical errors may trigger sounds from the subwoofers themselves, effectively making the subwoofers a music instrument in its own right. As such, each of the eight subwoofers would generate its own distinctive sound.

As a series of attempts to digitally control the sound frequency and loudness are made, Beyond 0-20Hz constructs new forms of hearing experiences, as well as experiments ways in which sounds can be transmitted, by means of triggering the ‘analog faults’ that would prompt the subwoofers to generate sounds. In the meanwhile, the variations in the sound frequency also lead to visible vibration of the subwoofers which can also be perceived as a visual thrill; on the other hand, the abrasiveness embedded in the way Beyond 0-20Hz attempts such experiments can also be seen to inadvertently reveal another sense by which the vitality of the sounds can be perceived: that is, through the touch of the sound-generated pulse.

2. Tech Spec:

8 x Subwoofer Speaker
4 x Stereo Amp Output Power (THD 1%): > 150+150W At 4 Ohms (Stereo)
1 x FireWire Audio Interface (8 balanced line Outputs)
1 x Max/Msp Software
1 x Mac G5 or P4 PC