What Do I Hear

What Do I Hear?


The idea for this multinational collaboration is to explore formative and theoretical questions of accessibility, and inclusivity through sensory translation in the presentation and creation of art. During this research period our team will: revisit past research, develop and apply new concepts, carry out testing, design prototypes, create small personal works for experimentation and demonstration, present in the form of a public laboratory, organize workshops, analyze results, archive and publicize our process, prepare an exhibition for potential presentation in the Netherlands, draft a plan for a future large-scale interactive tactile art-installation, and write a final paper.


With this research we are looking to offer a possible future solution to presenting artistic expression and creation in an inclusive and perspective shifting manner. We envision achieving this through the creation of a collective art-installation: an immersive haptic installation for sensory translation. This current period of artistic research will be focused on drafting a plan for the future realization of such a space. In order to understand what is technologically feasible and artistically fruitful, we will create prototype ‘tools’ focused on the translation of sound and movement into tactile architectural objects. These tools will be tested theoretically, technologically and practically, for their ability to convey complex sound into an equivalent other-sensory experience for a wide variety of ‘listeners’. Using these preliminary tools, some of us will create artworks based in our own practice to determine the potential of these tools to expand our own artistic field and the audiences who can engage with it.


Research Questions: The main focus of this research period will be to question perspectives of sound in space, aimed at allowing audience participants to use their body to literally feel sound as they navigate in a room. To guide our research, we will address the following central questions:


  1. How can we translate the experience of hearing into a physical experience of a room?
  2. How do the acoustics of a space influence the dynamics of sound in terms of tactility?
  3. What possibilities can technology give us for understanding complex sound/vibration (voice, noise, melody, harmony, source, spatialization, interference) through our body?


Another aspect we would like to investigate is depicting movement through felt sound. For example, conveying the movement of a dancer to a blind person through vibration. This also raises complex questions of translation such as: how can we convey both the physical movement through space as well as the (emotional) quality of human movement? In addition to the immediate questions of translation, further questions include: How do we create tools designed for everyone, not just for ‘normal’ human bodies? What can technology allow us to do to present art across different sensory perceptions and for people of diverse sensory abilities?