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12.526

12.526 is a collaboration between visual artist Andrea Bravo (CAT/ES), sound artist Nela Brown (CR) and media artist Roger Alsop (AUS).

The audiovisual installation 12.526 is an artistic interpretation of the first chapter of Finnegans Wake developed specifically for Convent Sant Agustí. It explores the relationships between spoken narrative, synthesized speech, and environmental sounds. This relationship is visualized through cymatics. Cymatics is the phenomena caused by vibrating a flat surface containing liquids (water, oil etc.) or loose granular substance (powder, sand etc.). This vibration results in patterns which can vary depending on the frequency of sound used to vibrate the surface.

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce is often described as impenetrable and non-sensical, but Joyce advises – to understand it, read it aloud. In 12,526, computer voice synthesis is used to create readings of Finnegans Wake in a variety of accents, changing the work from a text to sonic art. These readings are further computer-manipulated to create harmonies that are developed from Catalan folk songs from XV and XVI centuries. In contrast, environmental loops derived from urban sound recordings provide a juxtaposition and backdrop to the readings.

Finally, these sounds, generated out of the sonic art processes (computerized speech and environmental loops) are visually represented by cymatic shapes and projected into the building. The vaults and cultural heritage of Convent Sant Agustí, the readings of Finnegans Wake, the urban environmental sounds, and the resonances of catalan folk songs, evoke a transcending of time.