The Sonic Body appears on its exterior as a neutral cylindrical pod. Once inside however, the audience is immersed in a contrastingly red, warm, cocoon-like, tactile and multi-sensory space filled with sculptural fabric forms that evoke the shapes and contours of inner body parts. Through the audiences’ touch and contact with the sculptures, which can be squeezed, stroked, shaken and explored, a symphony is created from sounds that have been recorded from within the body. All sounds are spatialized to enhance their physicality. The installation was created by artists Harry Neve, Thomas Michalak and Anna Orliac, curated by Rowan Drury with medical advice from Francis Wells.
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The samples gathered were processed as little as possible to retain the original characteristics of the sounds. The Sonic Body is not only a installation. It was first a intimate experiment and private performance, with all sounds recorded from the artist Harry Neve and his partner’s bodies. The result is a spectrum of bodily acoustics beyond what we can usually hear; a lung that sounds like a baby crying, an intestine that sounds like a rainforest, and even the anatomical sound of a female orgasm that sounds like high-pitch whistling.
The project creates a unique way of thinking about and experiencing the body, through sound. Often people are scared to look ridiculous when confronted with interactive art, where it’s usually explicit that the piece can only function if the spectator uses it.
The physical sensuality of the Sonic Body, however is something uncommon to interactive art, and as such allows people to feel comfortable with interacting and participating in public by offering an intimate space where the user is free to interact and enjoy.
The Sonic Body was also part of the Brighton Digital Festival 2007 www.brightondigitalfestival.co.uk
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