Eric Lennartson is an Oscilloscope Artist, Composer, and Improviser based in Los Angeles. His audio-visual work makes use of analog oscilloscopes, an old piece of electronic testing equipment. While performing, he sends the sounds from his computer directly to the scope and a set of speakers simultaneously. In doing so, sound and image create a feedback loop of meaning. Although sounds create the images, the images have a direct influence on the creation of the sounds. The resulting effect is non objective imagery that interacts with dense noise, pulsating tones, and unstable beats. Through this interaction he explores the intersections between the analog and the digital, as well as the different perspectives and meanings inherent to the sound and image themselves. He has a master’s in Performance and Composition from the California Institute of the Arts and a bachelor’s in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas. His works have been presented at the Vector Hack Festival in Rijeka Croatia, Music For Your Inbox, and can also be seen as part of an installation at Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, in Las Vegas.
Alias 3 was first produced and premiered with a monthly online music & art series, Music For Your Inbox. It was made to be displayed on an analog oscilloscope. Using a program known as Pure Data, I designed a custom synthesizer that would allow me to play with and create sounds to draw images on the scope. This allowed me to both improvise with the sounds, developing them in real time, as well as respond to the visuals themselves. The sounds themselves are what created the images, but while I improvised the piece, the images that I was creating were also influencing my decisions on where to go next with the sounds. Alias 3 is a piece made to be experienced on an oscilloscope, but it is also meant to question the nature of objectivity and the word’s association with computers or tools in general. Computers and tools in general are often perceived as somehow being neutral, imparting no influence on the people who use them. Alias 3 seeks to push back against this notion. Through its simple existence it rejects this idea and shows what tools really are, things that are shaped by us to do things for us. Tools are not impartial. The makers of them have a certain ethos or idea in mind that they inevitably impart in making them. I expose this in Alias 3, by deliberately creating sounds that my computer couldn’t possibly hope to replicate. What we end up seeing and hearing while experiencing Alias 3 then, is an incomplete and aliased version of it. Not because no computer or sound system could ever hope to accurately display it, but because they were designed that way.