Day 9 • 7pm Session
I worked outside of the studio editing the first 5 mins of text I recorded yesterday for a small showing for some friends and other artists in residence. I spent the first 3 hours of my session building a 5 minute ark out of what I’ve been playing with to show them. As soon as I started working with the text, I felt the whole piece come together. The voice guides you through the sound experience, and the sound helps the visuals of what the voice is saying come to life. My little showing was very well received. Everyone was impacted by the roots growing which is my favourite sound that I’ve built so far and something that I had such a vivid idea for before coming here, even though I wasn’t sure what the sound was going to be yet.
The overall comment was that the audience felt very relaxed and safe, which, if nothing else, is my hope for this piece. Interestingly, when everyone first entered with the sound playing, their instinct was to find something to sit or lie on and be on the floor. I’m hoping that this whole piece can be experienced standing. Which is maybe a lot to ask, but also, I only anticipate it being about 45mins. And it think it’s doable. However, interesting their impulse to lie down, because it’s not like they were given any chairs or cushions, they just found ways to get comfortable on the ground. So I’ll have to think about 1. That being a possibility and 2. How to encourage people to stand. Even for 5 mins.
After the presentation, everyone stayed laying still for a really long time. Long enough for me to say, “Hey, thats it.” And even then they said nothing and didn’t move. And then eventually someone said, “yes we’re just enjoying it.” And they stayed still and silent for a long time and then someone else said, “Can we hear it again?” And everyone agreed. So I suggested moving to a different place in the room and standing. Everyone moved, only a few stood. After, the people who stood told me they felt the movement and space of the sound much more when they stood compared to when they lay down. Which is how it’s composed so that make sense. One guy made a comment that “the voice was like a porno.” Which I initially was taken back and lightly offended by, but then he, and others, went on to explain that it’s that the voice is soft and sensual. Which I can live with. I was initially thinking, oh god I’m going to have to record this whole thing again so it doesn’t sound too sexy, but then I thought, its just my voice - It’s going to come out the same way no matter what. Unless I actively try to sound a certain way which would be inauthentic and forced. So, I’m taking in the feedback. I’m happy with the description of sensual, soft and safe. It’s on the individual if they find that erotic, but I don’t think it’s enough to be distracting. Except when we get to the sacral chakra, which may get a bit wild. Can’t be helped.
Another great bit of feedback was one person said that she would have liked to hear the voice move around the room a bit more, in reaction to what the sound is doing and the voice itself is describing. I did try this a bit, but I found when I moved the voice around and it was at a level I was happy with, I lost it when it was on the other side of the room. It was suggested to me that I try it in using “spaces” within the 4DSOUND patch/engine. I have not played with spaces yet as I haven’t found a need for them, but this might really help in this case. It builds virtual walls and uses them to contain the acoustics of whatever room you build. Of course the acoustics of the physical room are at play, but much less than you would think, making it very easy to develop virtual spaces that defy the boundaries of this room. Another person had a counter comment to this, saying that they liked the voice as a constant and if it were to move away, it would feel as if it was leaving her. Especially when so much other sound and movement is happening in the space, the voice being there with you is a comfort. “It’s like your inner voice,” someone else said and many agreed. I like this more I think. And while I do want to look into spaces, I think the voice as an inner dialogue is the direction I want to go. Perhaps moving the plain of sound down so it feels as though your body is taking to you.
My initial proposal for this space was to see if you could feel as though a sound was originating from the listeners body. I am discovering this system is not quite built for that and that the listener would have to be quite static. However, I think for my next piece in this series, it will be working with laser speakers to try to achieve this. I think the preciseness of the laser speaker would pick up where this project falls short. Though this idea has evolved sightly, we’re still on the same course and the idea that sparked this one is still valid.
Maybe there could be some combination of this system and laser speakers so that you can get the precise location, but also build a virtual space in which the listener perceives it. So if a sound is being shot into your abdomen, it sounds like it coming from your abdomen, but through virtual spaces and sound objects, you can hear it with your ears way up at the top of your body.