Somewhere at the intersection of science, art, sound, and light lies Nicolas Bernier.
The Montréal-based Canadian, who holds a PhD in sonic arts from the University of Huddersfield in the UK and the 2013 Golden Nica top honor from Austria’s prestigious Prix Ars Electronica festival, uses organic sound sources and digital processing—most notably, granular synthesis—to strike a balance between the cerebral and the sensual. While he releases albums and has made a name for himself in field recording and musique concrète, perhaps his most notable work has been informed by synthetic sounds for his frequencies series, which has also manifested as several installations and performance works.
frequencies (light quanta), the most recent frequencies iteration, features one hundred transparent, acrylic panels, laser-engraved with vectorial graphics and arranged in a row. Sound and light sequences are triggered in random order, creating animations by turning panels on and off. Synced to a soundtrack of crackling, hissing, fragmented tones and sequences, the resulting audiovisual display is also a mesmerizing metaphor for quantum physics principles, such as particles, probabilities, wave/particle duality, and discontinuity. While built with a certain amount of inherent randomness, the compositional rigor of the piece makes it a gorgeously rich, technologically enhanced demonstration of the complexities of our natural world.