Discovering an uncanny world: Cymatics software and the journey to the creation of knowledge within the field of contemporary Cymatics
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Creating images out of sound is an ancient idea. Recently, individuals from different scientific and spiritual backgrounds have tried to make it into a (still broadly unacknowledged) field of research called Cymatics. No one knows the exact logics of sound images, but people create a fascination and a tangible connection between the sound and image by means of practices and ideas. The various discourses that exist within the field of Cymatics are what I discuss in this thesis, specifically with regard to the development of the newest Cymatics software: the Cymascope application. First, I use the case of the Cymascope app to discuss the role of software in the field and discourse of Cymatics. Aided by sound theory and a software studies situated affordance analysis I investigate the technical context of the App (as compared to the professional Cymascope). As we undo the app from its black box, we discover a non-live mechanism that makes it appear as if sound is translated into image. Also, we discover hidden discourse strategies enclosed within the design of the app. Secondly, I discuss the social and cultural context with regard to the online expressions through social media and key authors’ Cymatics websites about the meaning of sound images within the field of Cymatics. The leading ideas about the meaning of sound images helped shape the Cymascope app to a certain degree. And in turn, now the App has the potential to shape ideas on Cymatics. Current focus on aesthetics will not bring us further in the development of Cymatics nor Cymatics software. I argue that there could be a more interesting and useful place for software within this field of research that would allow for more perspectives and detailed knowledge. This could be achieved by 3 dimensional modelling through software and more openness to findings outside of the academic frame of reference.