In the beginning was the word – or in Sanskrit: 'Nada Brahma' the world is sound.
The mystical traditions of East and West tell us that the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe is sound. In fact, they say that sound is the very fount from which our universe arises. It is the primordial First Cause. It is responsible for creating, sustaining and transforming all life and all matter. Sound, simply put, is the organizing and integrating impulse behind everything.
The ancient mystics of the East taught that different sounds form different patterns, creating the endless variety of shapes, sizes and densities that are manifest all around us. They also saw sound as a power that could be harnessed to create positive change. The Hindu and Buddhist sages, for example, repeated specific soundformulas, or mantras, to bring about a host of powerful effects, both external and internal. They taught that by reciting mantras to a specific deity, we can create within our consciousness the same vibration as that deity. In essence, they saw the sacred words of the mantra as conduits that would bring spiritual energies into the world.
Likewise, the Jewish mystics known as Kabbalists taught that the Divine Word, the speech of God, creates and sustains both the heavens and the earth. Again, they believed that the various objects in our universe are different because a specific and unique combination of letters of sacred speech sustains each one. And, like their Eastern counterparts, some Kabbalists taught that when a devotee calls upon one of the names of God, the specific influence associated with that name is released. The power of the divine sound is also a theme in other Jewish as well as Christian traditions. Genesis tells us that creation began when God spoke the words "Let there be light".
Universal principles may be found in all of creation, from the macro -formation and dissolution of galaxies- to the micro -snow crystals- right down to subatomic oscillations. At a low frequency, a very stable looking pattern emerges, that of concentric waves. As long as the pitch is sustained, and not altered, this pattern appears static, as soon as the frequency changes, this stable structure dissolves into chaos. Raising the frequency, a remarkable thing occurs.
At a certain point the liquid sample spontaneously reorganises into a more refined structured form. Even though the frequency is steadily rising, the new figure doesn’t emerge gradually. Rather at a given moment it transforms into a new harmonic structure, reminiscent of the quantum leap seen in subatomic physics. As the frequency further increases, the same process recurs – chaos, and then reintegration –with a higher order of intricacy and harmonic coherency reflecting the higher vibration, or frequency.
These varying forms remain intact as long as the sound pulses through the substance. If the sound stops, the pattern collapses, if reapplied, the same pattern reappeares. For many, these experiments show that sound can indeed alter form, that different frequencies produce different results, and that sound actually creates and maintains form. The ancient masters saw sound as the integrating factor of all life. They also knew what today's science is just beginning to prove, that when we apply certain sounds to an organism, we can change its condition. Here, at the convergence of ancient spirituality and modern science, is the next frontier in the evolution of sound.
Through intuitive selection Chris Sedlaczek photographs disturbances (standing wavepatterns) created in liquids as they vibrate in response to the pure tones principle of sound. These fascinating experiments graphically depict phases of dissolution and reintegration. All pictures are printed by the artist on Hahnemühle Cotton Rag, 308 g/m², using pigmented inks. They are numbered, dated and signed. Editions are limited.