Sound Installation

Produced with The Making Space and The Media Centre
Installation: Transducers and Ready Made materials
Presente in The Media Centre, Huddersfield
January 6th-27th 2023
Thanks to Andrew Wilson, Lina Velandia, and Vernon O’Reilly

BONES is a project by David Vélez (Col/UK), exploring the resonance of human skulls to enhance Otherness and subvert listening biases in sonic art. BONES presents the auditory with unfamiliar audible experiences encouraging new sensibilities that challenge how we perceive our bodies through sound.

The sensibility of our bones to sound is crucial at an early stage of our life when in the womb, we have an initial encounter with the Otherness of our mother. We listen to her voice for the first time through the mastoid bones of our skull using the spinal cord like an antenna. This event is crucial in the baby’s cognitive and sensory development as it will influence the relationship they will establish with their affective environment.

BONES produces artworks that evoke our first sonic memories as babies, creating immersive experiences that provide the listeners with comfort. These installations challenge the cultural preconception that sound exclusively propagates airborne and that our ears are the only part of our body capable of detecting sound. BONES employs transducers designed to propagate sonic vibration through the skeletal system. Transducers are electroacoustic devices projecting sound through any solid or liquid material. In these pieces, transduction opens the door to unheard sonic experiences arousing the vulnerability of our skulls to sound.

BONES invites the spectators to establish tactile contact with its pieces, creating warm and vibrating synergies. Moreover, the implementation of transducers and their relatively quiet sounds to the ear encourage harmonic relations between the artworks and the individuals that unwind, socialize and work in public areas. It means a shift from the often-imposing character of sonic pieces exhibited in these spaces. BONES incorporates musical synthesis to create compositions with sine tones, the most elemental sounds of the spectrum, vibrating at a single frequency. For this reason, sine tones are critical for researchers studying acoustics. In medical diagnosis, healthcare therapy, and bioacoustics, sonic and ultrasonic sine tones have major implementations thanks to their capacity to auscultate organic tissue by non-invasive means. For the same cause, in BONES, sine waves allow vibration to pass through the skin and contact the skull with fluidity and intensity.

The sine waves used in the composition of BONES correspond to the resonating frequency of human skulls, ranging between 35 and 65 Hz, producing intense vibration and long-travelling soundwaves. Other sine tones incorporated resonate in the medium and higher spectrum between 500 and 7,500 Hz, at which the cranium is also very sensitive. The piece also implements tones ranging between 1,000 and 1,400 Hz, the resonant gamut of teeth. The composition of BONES employs recordings made with geophones, devices designed to detect the low frequencies of seismic movement, which makes them also sensitive to the sounds that make our skull resonate. These sounds reveal to the listener the sonic universe of soil where aboveground and underground resonate in unison. The processing applied to the recordings aims to stimulate the acoustics of the listener’s vocal tract and encourages subtle vibration between their upper and lower teeth.

The installations of BONES use discarded and found materials and incorporate the architecture and furniture of public areas, establishing a visual dialogue with these spaces.

Watch video documentation here:

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