15 – 29 Nov 2014William Hogarth - illustration from "The Analysis of Beauty" book 1753

“The eye hath this sort of enjoyment in winding walks, and serpentine rivers, and all sorts of objects, whose forms, as we shall see hereafter, are composed principally of what I call the waving and serpentine lines. Intricacy in form, therefore, I shall define to be that peculiarity in the lines, which compose it, that leads the eye a wanton kind of chace, and from the pleasure that gives the mind, intitles it to the name of beautiful…” William Hogarth “The Analysis of Beauty” 1753


William Hogarth (1753) 'The Analysis of Beauty' book
William Hogarth (1753) ‘The Analysis of Beauty’ book

In 1753 the Georgian artist William Hogarth self-published his magnum-opus, “The Analysis of Beauty” – the book in which Hogarth expounded an aesthetic system based on analysing the virtues of the Serpentine, S-shaped, waving and snake-like lines. The Serpentine Line that William Hogarth discussed is identical to what modern nomenclature refers to as the sine-wave – the mathematical function whose geometry finds physical expression in oscillatory motion of musical strings, in pure musical tones, and in many phenomena of engineering, physics and communications science, signal processing and information technology.


In context of the architect William Playfair’s design for the Georgian Gallery at Talbot Rice, sonic and visual arts project Disinformation presents a minutely-tuned assemblage of pure musical sine-waves, which manifest throughout the Georgian Gallery as a gently-hypnotic, immersive and dream-like sound-world. The installation is created using signals from laboratory oscillators, which manifest in-situ as standing-waves (the audio equivalent of stationary pond-ripples) – through which visitors move as they explore the architectural acoustics of the exhibition space and interact with the “The Analysis of Beauty” sound installation.

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