VIBRATIONS FROM A GRAPHITE CORE, 2012
Graphite, piezo microphones, custom software, printer

Collaboration with Ianis Lallemand


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Graphite is one of the oldest mineral which has been exploited for its mark making qualities. Traces of it have been found on Neolithic ceramics from 4th millennium B.C. Marica culture. It was known as “black lead” until 1789, when the German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner named it after the Greek term: graphein, or “to write”. In Greek , the first meaning of graphein is “to snick”, hence to engrave characters: to write but also to draw.

Inspired by the history of graphite as a drawing instrument, this installation interrogates the uses of this material in a practice-based context of visual production, in dialogue with digital technologies.

The installation is composed of three different forms of this mineral: pure graphite, amorphous graphite and flakes of graphite. Each piece is equipped with small contact microphones that capture the acoustic vibrations of the material.

The piece is enacted during several performances during which the viewers are invited to interact with the graphite by using tools to scratch, hit or caress the graphite surfaces. By doing so they set the material in vibration. A custom software simultaneously collects the sound data in order to translate it into drawings, which are produced by the means of a printer. The drawings constitute an imprint of the acoustic resonance of the material. They are produced by stratification of simple linear forms.

This work explores how the graphite’s acoustic qualities can foster the production of a drawing. The interaction with the material directs the way the drawing is performed, in a temporal dimension that echoes traditional techniques. However, the image is not created through a purely analog connection between the graphite and the paper, but through possibilities opened up by digital technologies.

Vibrations from a graphite core Performance 10.10 - Broadband from GV Art on Vimeo.

Live Performance at GV Art Gallery, London, October 2012





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GV Art Gallery 04.10 to 08.12.2012
Still of the installation.: GV Art Gallery 04.10 to 08.12.2012

Pure graphite.
Still of the installation. Detail.: Pure graphite.

at 2700m high in Summer 2012.
Detail Amorphous Graphite extracted: at 2700m high in Summer 2012.

at 2700m high in Summer 2012.
Detail Graphite Flakes collected: at 2700m high in Summer 2012.

Image: Frances Nutt.
Still of the performance 04.10.2012: Image: Frances Nutt.

Image: Frances Nutt.
Still of the performance 04.10.2012: Image: Frances Nutt.


Still of the performance 04.10.2012 


Still of the performance 10.10.2012 

performance of 10.10.2012 at GV Art
Digital drawing realised during the: performance of 10.10.2012 at GV Art