Glass, water, air pump, hydrophones, sound system

2022, commissioned by Sonic Acts

Buloklok is a sonorous timepiece assembled with underwater glass sculptures that emit ringing air bubbles. Drawing from the cowrie shells that Sauvage has been playing as instruments to produce bubble sound in the water, each sculpture is blown by a glassblower into an organic form with a hollow space inside.

The sculptures bring out bubbles from their “mouths” each time the upper part of their cavities are filled with air, generating varied notes depending on the size of their cavities and the air pressure. As living bodies of different sizes have different breathing patterns and speeds, these bubbles give multiple pulsations. 

Buloklok joins Sauvage’s longtime motif, clepsydra – water clock, that is considered to be the oldest time-keeping instrument, from the time when astrology was more important than horology, with its early form using water drops falling from a small hole of a vessel and with its most complex one employing various water chambers and automatically sounding objects such as discs, spheres and bells. 

The study of clock history shows that, until relatively recently, time was defined by observing celestial bodies with seasonal and geographical variations. Time used to be elastic before the invention of arbitrary intervals called hours and minutes. 

Buloklok is imagined as a metronome for poly-pulsating music. Complex and rather absurd music conducted by bubbles. It proposes an immersive journey of animated spheres being formed and transformed by myriad breaths and floating until they vanish one by one. 

Glass sculptures are blown by Takashi Hamada and Silicybine.

Installation view at The 5th Floor, Tokyo, 2022. Photos by Naoki Takehisa.