Horen doe je met je oren – maar het kan ook anders. Deze vibrerende waterbedden laten je luisteren met andere lichaamsdelen. De geïntegreerde speakers creëren voelbare trillingen in het water. De VIMS zijn gebruikt in onderzoek voor doven, maar ze zijn net zo verrassend voor de horende mens.
The Vims was designed to become a stage for the audience in a sound installation and music performance The Body imitates the Landscape (https://thebody.aholl-studio.org/).
This project is a collaboration between artist Adi Hollander and composer Claudio. F Baroni, and performed by MAZE Ensemble.
About the live concert/sound installation, The Body imitates the Landscape.
The Body Imitates the Landscape was inspired by the Japanese book Karada about the ‘school of the body’; the installation translates the textual experience of reading this book into a sensory one. It is designed in the form of a playground which transforms music into vibrations felt through the entire body. The work is intended to include everyone – young, old, deaf, and hearing people can all take part in the joy of physically listening to music in this electronic garden of sound.
“Every hearing and non-hearing person can experience music with their bodies, but hearing people mostly ignore the tactile sensations of vibrations. Considering my own hearing ‘limitations,’ I created an interactive artwork emphasizing sound’s materiality.”
Tada’s text presents the human body as an object among other objects and as a being that sees and touches other objects. The work attempts to address, through different perspectives, the “body” as an archive of memory through sounds, text, gestures, movements, and space. This leads us to try to create an interactive installation that enables the human body to expand its possibilities of hearing – listening not only through the ears, but using different body parts as well and experiencing an intimate and private relationship with the object similar to the one between two people sharing a secret.
This installation consists of seventeen different VIMS, specially designed waterbeds in shapes resembling dancers’ movements, augmented by sixty haptic wooden benches. Arranged like a Japanese garden, ripples of sound emanate audibly, physically, and visually outward from the modules. The audience rests their body on a waterbed placed over various speakers, including bass shakers, transducers, and bone conductors.
The composer Claudio F Baroni has written an hour-long piece for the MAZE ensemble designed to explore the vast spectrum of frequency ranges these speakers emit. Whispered voices of text quoted and abstracted from Tada’s book disclose their hidden harmonies, reflecting the intimate relationship between audience, sound, and object.
The installation becomes a place where the audience is responsible for its own work consumption. They are becoming the ‘performers’ and ‘choreographers’ of the work at the moment of listening and feeling the sound. Within each presentation, there is unpredictability for the audience experience – it depends on the number of people, how they move in space, how they use the objects, how much they interact with each other, and where the musicians are part of the space.
About the VIMS:
When developing the VIMS, I worked at the REACH school in Kolkata, India with children that were hard of hearing, deaf, and mute. My study included the following targets:
Speak about vibration in terms of color and forms
Determine the possibilities to create an ‘archive of vibration’, in the way a hearing person
has a memorized archive of sound.
Understand if vibration can create a joyful feeling in the same way it does for a hearing
person when listening to music
See if the vibration can help when studying lip reading, speaking or new language.
The VIMS is made of a steel frame and two inflatable mattresses; one mattress is filled with air. This mattress holds the speakers, the cables, and the Led light strips and is stretched and connected to the frame with Velcro forming the shape of the steel frame, and the second inflatable mattress is filled with water and placed over the air mattress. I used 3 types of speakers to cover a high range of frequencies from sub buffer to high.
After the premiere in 2019, I presented The Body Imitates the Landscape on different platforms and venues; as a performance and sound installation at the Willem Twee, November Music Festival in Breda, Zone 2 Source gallery in Amsterdam, and Movement Exposed gallery in Utrecht. I presented the VIMS at DDW and had workshops with them in Deaf schools. The project got a lot of attention, and I had plans for exhibitions, concerts, and workshops, but while exhibiting the work at Movement Exposed gallery in Utrecht, Corona entered our life, and the lockdown started. All presentations got canceled, and I had to pack the project and place it on the shelf. I could not present a project that asks people to touch or position the body, head, or hand on the same surface.
Because I had to pack my work, I tried to conclude my experience and achievement, but the topic I dealt with – hearing by feeling – just became more urgent for me. Why….? Because the corona introduced me to more limitations as a hard-of-hearing person. I understood how much my eyes which are my primary tool for gathering sonic information, betrayed me. I got lost in facemask, Zoom, online culture, and online professional and personal exchange, a world without lips, facial expressions, and subtitles, where sound and lips movement do not synchronize. I felt I need to find another tool to help me replace my eyes and free them from the job they are no longer fit for.
In 2021, with my artist initiative, The OtherAbilities, we initiated the research project What Do I hear? With an international group of 14 participants, we focused on the technical development of prototype tools for translating sound into felt vibrations, and we developed 6 small-scale sensory translation tools. In the process, we tested these prototypes with Deaf/deaf, hearing, and hard of hearing subjects for their functionality with various kinds of sound and music inputs, audible range, level of intelligible nuance, physical comfort, and general technical quality.
The OtherAbilities suggest that accessibility should mean inclusivity: that all kinds of bodies should be able to engage in the rich, conflicting, personal experience of the artworks and fully participate in the social and intellectual discourse art generates. To make art spaces more inclusive, we should not only be focusing on services such as guided tours and assisted-language devices. Instead, we want to propose to turn our attention toward rethinking and redesigning the architectural space itself and offer tools that can be used by both a hearing and non-hearing public.
Currently, The OtherAbilities initiative is executing the second phase of the research about sensory translation in art: Haptic Room Studies.
In this phase, I collaborate with artists Andreas Tegnander, Ildikó Horvath, Sungeun Lee, and theoretician Eva Fotiadi, and together we will develop and present several architectural interventions and create a versatile and adaptable system, testing with different mediums, such as watching a film or attending a concert, etc.
Based on data collected during the first phase, What Do I Hear? We have chosen 3 prototypes (see below) out of the 6 we developed to refine to this end. We selected these because they are the most ‘invisible’: one does not need to look at them to use them; therefore, they do not take attention away from the artwork on display. We also choose these tools because, when combined, they allow us to create a multichannel system with which we can simultaneously direct different parameters of sound, such as density, harmony, direction, spatialization, et cetera.