Tomoko Sauvage, In Curved Water, 2014. ©︎ Jens Ziehe


Over the past decade, Tomoko Sauvage has been working on an electro-acoustic musical instrument of her invention, waterbowls - combining water, ceramics and hydrophones (underwater microphones). In Curved Water was created in 2010 as a sound installation using one of her techniques - water drops playing a random percussion. Crystal ice blocks, tied with knots, suspended in the air, ceaselessly fall water drops, as they melt, into twelve porcelain bowls of water. Hit by each droplet, the bowls and the water surface resonate, some of whose attacks are amplified and the others ring acoustically, creating a tromple-l'oreille effect blurring the auditory perception in the mixture of electronic and acoustic sound. As the tonality is defined by the quantity of water in the bowls, the melodies and harmonies gradually shift with the notes descending drop by drop and ascending by evaporation. The light penetrates and shines the mass of frozen water, resulting in a contemplative, lively and ever-flowing crystal shadow play.

Production of porcelain bowls: Laurent Merchant

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In Curved Water (2010)

Sauvage, Tomoko

Tomoko Sauvage works on ‘natural synthesisers’ that she has invented—waterbowls that combine water, ceramics and hydrophones (underwater microphones).