Nathaniel Ober is an internationally known experimental digital artist who has a unique hybrid
creative practice that spans installation, sculpture, sound, instrument building, digital prototyping
and astrophysics. He engages audiences by sharing listening experiences from the natural
world with processes of sonification. These experimental works can be experienced in the field
or through his multi-sensory immersive installations.
Ober’s work has been featured nationally at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San
Francisco, and internationally at the Parque Explora in Medellín Colombia, Arteles Creative
Center in Finland as well as the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA).
From 2009–2013 Nathaniel was program director of multimedia and graphic design at the
Raffles Design Institute in New Delhi, India and Colombo, Sri Lanka. Ober holds an MFA from
the Digital Arts and New Media program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a BFA
from the Columbus College of Art and Design.
“Patterns of Convergence”
– Nathaniel I. Ober
My work combines art, technology, music and astrophysics to convey information from the
natural world into creative ideas that can reveal the interconnectedness of life and the patterns
and forms that shape who we are and where we come from. The merging of the arts and
sciences combines multiple disciplines, bridging new understandings in how we interpret and
exist within our environment.
I explore the natural world through sound and work with data for sonification purposes as well
as natural forces such as; light, wind, water and trees. I aim to create works that are not just
influenced by the environment, but physically rely upon an intimate collaboration with the
elements. By doing so, I am reminded that nature is not something to be tamed, but something
to learn and grow from.
This exhibit displays a variety of hand-built autonomous instruments created for various
installations and performances over the past ten years.
An unexpected composition arises from the asynchronous rhythms and melodies performed by
each individual instrument as they converge into a single movement of sound. The installation
begins with the “Orrery Harp” which plays its melody based on the orbital periods of planets
within our solar system. Their earthly counterparts, (two electro-acoustic tanpuras) are
programed to create a drone that accompanies the celestial soundscape. These three
instruments create a circle of pitches that fall in and out of harmony and time in perpetuity.
While some instruments reveal timescales that mirror terrestrial motions, others playback
recordings of past events. An outcropping of aeolian harps played by the wind are documented,
recorded and played back through transducers mounted within the harps bodies. A single
acoustic guitar is set in motion strumming a chord indefinitely suggesting times perpetual
motion. Together, these instruments provide an incomplete narrative of space and time while creating patterns of convergence.