Exploring the Relationship of Electromagnetism, Physics, Medicine and Music
Research into Nikola Tesla’s unique understanding of physics has revealed that he was applying acoustic principles in his experiments to tap into the energy he called the ‘aether’. He believed this energy – which he also described as ‘the wheelwork of nature’ – formed the underlying structure of the universe, and that when disturbed it oscillates back and forth like an open, vibrating string.
At the turn of the last century Tesla discovered that the earth has a resonant frequency and that multiples of this frequency, (known as ’harmonics’ or ‘standing waves’) could be created between the earth and the ionosphere by lightning. This led him to use one of his inventions – a large Tesla coil – as an instrument to generate standing waves so that at the right frequency the earth would respond to the transmitter’s vibrations. Thus stimulated, the entire earth-ionosphere cavity forms a circuit and vibrates in resonance, and this natural energy source (providing movement through disequilibrium) could then be tapped into and harnessed.
Tesla’s further experiments with medical applications of these musical principles of resonance revealed that each cell in the human body is also a tiny circuit. With the use of a small Tesla coil and antenna to produce harmonics or standing waves, the underlying principle is that each cell in the body can then find its own resonant frequency and thus return to cellular equilibrium, or a potentially more balanced state of health.
It is these musical investigations of the aether which I am exploring and documenting in the development of my film Pictures of Infinity. Inspired by Nikola Tesla’s extraordinary perception of the world as a ‘cosmic symphony of vibrations’, the energy of the aether will be made conceptually visible within images from the natural world such as spinning vortices in water, images of northern lights, and spiral galaxies. The movement of aetheric energy will be evoked in the film with a composition called ‘infinity Maps’, which will explore a range of vibrations from the resonant frequency of the earth to natural radio signals of the ionosphere, combined with music for multiple layers of violin, viola, cello, flute and percussion.
The universe is inherently musical, and Nikola Tesla’s experiments with vibration and resonance revealed his deep connection to this knowledge. My work seeks to further explore this musical understanding of nature as part of a larger cultural continuum linking ancient knowledge of energy to the most recent experiments in physics.
(synopsis of a talk given at the Bakken Library, Minneapolis, USA in September 2007)