Rajat Bhatnagar’s Website:
Rajat Bhatnagar is an interactive and sound artist based in New York. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he became interested in sound at a young age, listening to weird late night programs on the 94.1 KPFA radio station. Eventually he got his BA from U.C. Berkeley and an MS from the University of Pennsylvania.
Many of Bhatnagar’s projects caught my interest, and his lecture in particular because I have played the clarinet for 8 years now, and have come to really appreciate the amazing ability to make sound. I’ve always thought that sound, or the lack of it, adds crucial points to any experience, and that incorporating sound into art very much enhances it. In one commissioned project, Bhatnagar set up a light sensor to capture and interpret sound from the wavering of the smoke of burning incense. The sound produced was calming and in perfect harmony with the imagery of the burning incense, creating an intense and compact quiet, meditative environment. I am interested in environments and their ability to provoke certain reactions in people. Another of Bhatnagar’s projects involved the experience of creating an instrument, and the relationship of that to the sound it produced. Every February, every year, each day he would make a new, small handheld instrument. Many of these were surprisingly successful, and Bhatnagar found hundreds of unique ways to produce sound from his environment over the course of almost 10 years. I admire his dedication to fully exploring sound in every way, and his willingness to learn new techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting in order to further his exploration of sound.
Overall his lecture was very interesting, more about just relaying his experiences with sound art than anything else. The important message he left behind was to really experiment. To push and not be afraid of producing something that sounded bad. As a speaker, he could be smoother. What shone through in the end was his sense of fun and exploration. You could hear the excitement in his voice as he talked about his projects, and that in itself was wonderful.