The Body Electric (2018-2020)
“And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?”
- Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (1855)
A concept for voice, sensors and fixed media, The Body Electric is an ongoing exploration of the subtlety, malleability and strength of the breath.
As a vocalist - with an instrument that I cannot physically touch and yet am so physically connected to and affected by - the internal choreography of my vocal subsystems is of profound interest to me. The Body Electric seeks to peer inside the body, to peel back the layers of skin and to present an external view of the internal choreography of abdominal muscles utilised during phonation. I question and attempt to discover how this biofeedback information could be considered as a means of controlling and processing the voice, with the ebb and flow of my breath and consider the physical effort of singing as an additional 'voice' rather than a mere means to a sonic end.
The collapse and expansion of the body during phonation is captured by a collection of custom pressure sensing pillows, placed on specific regions of the torso. They become a part of me, extensions of a body and yet are external bodies in their own right - possessing their own 'lungs', 'arteries' and 'brain'.
We breathe, muscles shift and hum, air whirls inside of us and vibration becomes sound.