Embodiment of Sound Workshop

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On the week of May 8th 2017, a small group of students participated in one of the more pedagogically experimental workshops I’ve participated in, let alone facilitated, entitled Embodiment of Sound. For the first two days, the students and instructor executed exercises aimed at experiential understanding, including listening walks, exercises akin to Authentic Movement, and body scanning. Each exercises was preceded by introducing different concepts of listening, voicing, and sensing, and each exercise was followed by journaling and group discussion. The amount of ideas, thoughts, and discussion topics generated by these practice-based exercises were abundant, and gave us fruitful material to work with.

The remainder of our workshop was a crash course on how to fuse different technologies with the concepts we had explored before: using mics and sensors on the body, ideas of feedback loops, and how to embody sounds through different materials.

The space we were provided was remarkably good for producing more theatrical elements (thanks to LED spotlights and blackout curtains), and the results of the workshop were nothing short of exciting.

 

Here are two students’ workshop outcomes:

Inma Herrera took this workshop in the final stretch of her printmaking Master’s, and has worked before on performances involving printmaking processes. She explored the idea of process feedback loops by first recording the sound of the materials she was working with through the material itself (using contact mics on materials like paper and aluminium printmaking plates), and then playing back the processes through those same materials.

Here is a video showing the phantom-like behaviour of the sound of a roller being played back through an aluminum printing plate.

 

Tua Hakanpää, a vocal researcher and pedagogue herself, performed a varied version of a piece she had previously worked on, this time involving handmade piezos (as both speaker and microphone), as well as learning how to use a multi-speaker setup with her own pre-recorded vocal tracks. The result was a 17-minute performance using extended technique, movement, and freshly-learned technologies that Tua explained as a piece about the struggles of falling asleep.

Here is an excerpt of Tua's piece using piezos and movement.