Pentavox // Michi Grass

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With the invention of the light sound system (optical sound system), visual information can be converted into sounds. Norman McLaren took advantage of this opportunity, and by applying serial graphic patterns to the filmstrip with brush and ink, he created his own sounds.
He said: „If a sound will make a pattern on film, a pattern on film will make a sound. You can even create your own sound by drawing directly on film.”


The sound sculpture “Pentavox” can implement it.
Powered by optical sound head systems taken from film projectors, it consists of five devices that stream forth images translation into sound. The process follows sound storage and repetition, as a method originally used in film, to translate a visual pattern into sound.


In the first step, images or patterns, which can be arranged geometrically, abstractly or in ornaments, are painted onto 35 mm film material – very precisely at the point at which usually the soundtrack is located. In the second step, the filmstrip gets scanned over an optical sound head, which allows the picture soundscape to become audible again and – your own composition is born.


The Pentavox shows that there are different, innovative ways to create sounds: it invites the visitor to discover and develop his own idea of sound and strains and paint / draw it on the filmstrip. Free painting or drawing is a very original, playful and intuitive act – and the Pentavox is to be explored exactly in this way, playfully and intuitively.


Michi Grass graduated in gardening, communications engineering at a higher technical school and made her bachelor´s degree in textile and interior design at the University of Derby in England. In 2015 she completed a Master in Art & Science at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
This versatility is reflected in her artistic openness: from textile design, film and photography to sculpture and installation.
Born in Vienna, she lives and works in her hometown.