Jacob Kirkegaard

Jacob Kirkegaard

Work from Nagaras.

“NAGARAS (“drum” or “kettle drum”) is the title of a series of eight photographs shot on an expedition into the deserts of Oman in December 2008. The work explores a sonic phenomenon which only occurs in a few deserts around the world: The Singing Sands (aka Sounding Sands, Rumbling Sands, Barking Sands, Moving Sands etc.) These particular desert sounds have been witnessed for many centuries by various travelers, including the great explorer Marco Polo. “Nagaras” is a word that was used in early tales and rumors to describe the phenomenon:

“Between these plains is a small hill in which there is a line of sandy ground, reaching from the top to the bottom of the hill. They called it ‘Khawajeh-reg-rewan’. They say that in the summer season the sound of drums and ‘Nagaras’ issues from this sand.” (Memoirs of Babur, 1590)

“…And so I came at length to the other end of the valley, and there I ascended a hill of sand and looked around me. But nothing could I descry, only I still heard those ‘nagaras’ to play, which were played so marvelously.” (Friar Odoric, 16th century)

The photographs aim to capture momentary visual fragments of the millions of sand grains which, in joint movement, emit such “marvelous” sounds.
The seemingly chaotic patterns generated on the desert dunes during the sands’ sonic emissions offer a visualization of sound in the making, through movement in matter.” – Jacob Kirkegaard

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