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Leonardo. Vol. 11, pp. 205-206. 0Pergamon Press Ltd. 1978. Printed in Great Britain. 0024--094X/78/07014205$02.00/0 PICTURES BASED ON VOICE GRAPHS: PICTON0M S Aage Justesen* 1. Once I watched a television program in which the graphical recording of a voice during a telephone conversation was demonstrated. A graph of this type, showing the train of frequencies and amplitudes of soundsproduced during speech,bears featurescharacteristic of the speech of each person. It was explained that such voice graphs could be used for the identification of persons, as is done with fingerprints. This gave me the idea that voice graphs obtained while persons pronounce their names would amount to phonetic signatures. Realizing this, I devised a technique that utilizes the graphs as a basis of design for prints, to which I have given the name ‘pictonoms’. Theexperiencethat I had had in audio-visual work was of real help to me. After I had recorded on magnetic tape the voices of a number of persons pronouncing their own names, I sought theassistanceofGerold Ungeheuer at the University of Bonn, Fed. Rep. Germany. He was fascinated by the idea and encouraged me to pursue it, but, not having the necessary equipment at his disposal for my purpose, he introduced me to H. G. Tillmann of the Institute for Phonetics and Verbal Communication at the University of Munich, Fed. Rep. Ger. Tillmann has said: ‘With the “pictonoms” Justesen displays the specifictraits, characteristiwand features of the speaker, which simultaneously depict personal identity in factual form capable of communication. In addition, reference can be made to the counterpoint between the conventionality of the name and the perfectly natural uniqueness of the personal voice. The artist Justesen wishes to reveal a reality which otherwise remains concealed from us-the observer is intended to experiencethe individuality of the speaker portrayed in a “pictonom” as an artform. In this senseJustesen may be considered a portrait artist.’ The technique brings to mind signature paintings by Sandor Torday ‘based on ink splatch patterns produced by foldingand pressingtogether a pieceof paper on which a person had just signed his name in ink’ [l]. Torday stated: ‘I feel that there is a kind of special relationship between the signer and me, much as there is between the portrait painter and his model.’ Thus, while our techniques are very different, perhaps there are some similarities in our objective. 2. My procedure is to produce voice graphs from magnetic tape recordings of well-known individuals pronouncing their names. I do this in order to help *Artist, Kreuzbuhlstrasse 1, CH-8008 Zurich, Switzerland. (Received 28 Jan. 1977) publicizemy idea. Furthermore, with the use of the voice graphs as a basisforexpressivenonfigurativepictures, my aim has been to indicate a prominent feature of an individual in an aesthetic way. t ; . 2. ‘PictonomN24, Anneliese Rothenberger’,silkscreen print, 41.5 x 55 cm, 1976. Fig. 3 (Top). ‘PictonomNI,Joan Miro‘,silkscreenprint. 32 x 50 cm, 1976. (Bottom) ‘Pictonom N5,Hundertwasser’, silkscreen print, 32 x 53.5 cm, 1976. 205 C 206 A u p My experience as a graphic artist. in particular in the domains of lithography and serigraphy. is applied in transposing the black and white voice graphs onto silk screens for making prints possessing brilliant transparent colors (Fig. 1. cf. color plate; Figs. 2 and 3). I make two types of pictonoms. One type, of which Figs. I , 2 and 3 (top) are representative, is nonfigurative: the other type incorporates a portrait of the person whose voice was recorded (Fig. 3. bottom). It seemed significant that the artists who were 'portrayed' left to me the choice ofcolors in the pictonoms. while musicians. actors and writers readily stated their preferred colors. I am continuing my quest in producing recordings of names uttered by celebrated persons in diverse walks of life and in making pictonoms from them. 3. The voice graphs are obtained with an instrument that I call a wicc rrc.ordi~. Its technical name. however, is uudio spcctruni unuljzt~r.and the tradename. the particular model employed and the manufacturer are Sonu-Grupli Model 606 IB (Kay Elemetrics Corp.. Pine Brook. New Jersey, U.S.A.). The instrument records and stores sounds for subsequent analysis. The...


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