Monica Bate Vidal

The Life of Crystals

The Life of Crystals is a theoretical and experimental research project that explores the use of Rochelle Salt Crystals for the creation of a sound art installation that highlights its piezoelectricity, a property that's widely use in electronics.


We are surrounded by natural phenomena that we have learned to understand in order to use for our benefit. With constant technological development, we have access to devices that apparently move us away from our connection to nature. The Life of Crystals is a project that aims to recall that origin by returning to the basics of electronics in order to understand a small part of what we call High-Tech through experimental and theoretical research: growing Rochelle Salt Crystals and observing their piezoelectric properties. The output of this research is a sound installation where a crystal vibrates at determined resonance frequencies arousing the spectator's curiosity about electronics archeology, sound and oscillations.

You can find the documentation of my research here:

Everybody who is interested in listening the sound of a crystal.

User Scenario
The ideal scenario should be as quiet as possible (I know this is very difficult in the show context), because the sound of the crystals is low. I'd need a table / stand / podium to place my work on it and a small wall area to hang some prints with information.

What I'm showing is a sound sculpture (could be also be considered as a sound art installation). It is a 6 x 6 x 6 inches box that recalls a gramophone. At the top of it you can see the crystal that's reproducing the sound of a max/msp patch (the sound is based on the resonance frequencies of the crystals I've grown).