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Mark Fischer, "Catturare un sogno", the sounds of a White-beaked dolphin, recorded near Iceland, 2008.

Mark Fischer

Using computer visualization software, Mark Fischer transforms mysterious underwater calls of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) into "wavelets": visual readings of the sounds' volume, harmonics, frequencies and rhythms. The result are stunning ripples of printed color or animated soundscapes, revealing the wide sonic range of frequencies and patterns within each communication.

"A sound as loud as a Blue whale makes can span half the world's oceans, which means two whales could [theoretically] send a signal around the globe in just over seven hours", explains Mark Fischer. These stunning visual renderings and the scope of what they represent give us valuable access to information about cetacean communication which would be impossible if presented in a different format.

"What motivated me to try this form of analysis is simple. The range of frequencies involved in cetacean sounds is extraordinary, from a low of 5-9Hz in the large mysticetes [baleen whales] up to 150 kHz in some of the odontocetes [toothed whales]. Standard, off-the-shelf spectral analysis software simply buckles under these demands." By slowly processing these enormous data files, Mark Fischer manages to reveal dark sonic landscapes which seem to echo the rippled undersea forms which generate them. Graphing frequencies which far exceed the capacity of human hearing, Fischer's wavelets provide rare glimpses of the wonders our ears are missing.




Wavelets on

Artist in the New York Times

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