Phoebe Hui

Phoebe Hui’s art was inspired by harmonograph, a mechanical apparatus invented by the Scottish mathematician Hugh Blackburn in the late 19th century. Harmonograph became popular with its capacity to create beautiful geometric patterns that depicted the scientific theories in music. The simplest harmonograph consists of two pendulums with one being connected to paper and the other to a pen. When the pendulums move, the rhythm of music is hereby recorded in a drawn pattern. Phoebe, for this exhibition, created her version of harmonograph by applying electronic technology. The paper and pen, in her piece, are replaced with a water pool, and the pendulums become sensors atop two swings on which audience can sit or stand to become part of the piece. The swinging movements, coupled with the energy and tension produced by the audience, cause waves on the water which reveals the scientific rhythm in music. The movements also provide the source for making sounds. The scientific theories in music are thereby made visible and audible. And the conventional one-direction viewing experience is revolutionized with the audience being made part of the art.