Initiation Dream – Pauline Oliveros (for ideas about “deep listening”)
Relational Aesthetics – Nicolas Bourriaud (history/theory of participatory art, social practice)
See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (for other projects dealing with sensory perception)
Speculative Everything: design, fiction, and social dreaming (for a fictional framing for the work)
Strategies for Bubble
The rest of this post summarizes a conversation I had with Abby about my project.
The piece is a sound experience for a person inside a transparent inflatable ball. The acoustics inside the ball are unusual, and the quality of sound varies drastically with the vantage point of the listener (from high to low, center to periphery). All the sounds are generated by non-musician volunteers who “play” the ball from the outside.
A list of sound-generating actions:
– Slowly rubbing the ball when it is wet (squeaking)
– Dripping water onto the ball from above
– Throwing rice or other small objects at the ball
– Quickly tapping the ball
Ways to modulate sounds:
– Move from a high point to a slow point on the ball
– Slowly circle the ball
There will be several volunteers making sound, so I must consider how they are organized – in terms of their spatial position in relation to the ball, and in terms of the sounds they produce as a group. Since the ball is in fact a sphere, the volunteers should surround it to give the impression that sound is coming from every direction.
Strategies for coordinating non-musician volunteers:
– Designate a group leader. The leader is the first to produce a sound (say from
rubbing the ball at a particular speed), and the other volunteers gradually copy her.
This creates a sort of echoing effect. The role of leader does not have to stay fixed for
the duration of the piece.
– Place markers on the ball itself that correspond to different sounds, i.e. a red mark on
top signifies tapping, and a blue mark on the bottom signifies rubbing. The volunteers
produce whatever sound corresponds with the mark currently touching the ground.
It is important to me that the experience is reactive, as opposed to passive. So the person inside the bubble will receive minimal instruction as well.
Instructions for the participant:
– Wear a blindfold
– Walk in a straight line, as slowly as possible
– Notice how walking changes what you hear
– Notice how your position inside the ball changes what you hear
– If at any time you want to leave, make a hand signal
It would be great to get feedback on these ideas!