Somacoustics: Interactive Body-as-Instrument

Bomba, Maros Suran and Dahlstedt, Palle

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Visitors interact with a blindfolded artist’s body, the motions of which are tracked and translated into synthesized four-channel sound, surrounding the participants. Through social-physical and aural interactions, they play his instrument-body, in a mutual dance. Crucial for this work has been the motion-to-sound mapping design, and the investigations of bodily interaction with normal lay-people and with professional contact-improvisation dancers. The extra layer of social-physical interaction both constrains and inspires the participant-artist relation and the sonic exploration, and through this, his body is transformed into an instrument, and physical space is transformed into a sound-space. The project aims to explore the experience of interaction between human and technology and its impact on one’s bodily perception and embodiment, as well as the relation between body and space, departing from a set of existing theories on embodiment. In the paper, its underlying aesthetics are described and discussed, as well as the sensitive motion research process behind it, and the technical implementation of the work. It is evaluated based on participant behavior and experiences and analysis of its premiere exhibition in 2018.