the reappropriation and translation of the senses

reappropriating the lost sounds of the territory after having lost it to the technology of the Ipod as in the work of Cara-Ann Simpson;  substituting a sense for the other, either because one is lost or non-existent as in the collaborative work of Deborah Fels and David Bobier; associating mathematics to colors and 3D shapes and then translating them into music as in Daryn Bond Harmonic Matrix; using computer vision to make selections among the infinite number of images circulating on the web as in Micha Rabinovich and Yogesh Girdhar’s SoYummi semantic software that helps the user choose  images according to their uniqueness:  these are only three of the projects presented during the rich poster exhibition and short presentation sections.
once again dealing with issues of translation, augmentation and re-imagination, these projects reflected on the role of technologies to confuse,  augment and reconnect with the human sensorium.

Cara-Ann Simpson’s Geodesic Sound Helmet, now a prototype, but soon to be exhibited as a final project at Isea, took inspiration from some communication theory that examines how personal portable devices such as IPods have the tendency to isolate the individual  from the environment the listener is immersed in and to provide a substitute soundtrack for such individual. controlled by the changes in the user’s breathing, the geodesic sound helmet  recreates a soundtrack that still reproduces the person’s physical and sensorial mood (as it is controlled by breathing). however, instead of removing this person from the surrounding environment, it  reconnects him/her through a filed recording from specific geographical locations.

Cara-Ann Simpson (right) and a prototype of the Geodesic Sound Helmet

Deborah Fels and David Bobier, the first a professor at Ryerson university, the second an artist whose personal experience engaged him with the world of the hearing impaired, presented their prototype, the Emoti-Chair, a prototype that allows deaf and hearing impaired to “listen” by feeling the vibration of the music while sitting on a specially fitted chair. while similar to many other attempts to substitute one sense for another, the Emoti-Chair is of particular interest for its complexity that enable a variety of sounds carrying different typologies and variations of pitch to translate into ad hoc vibrations. in this way, the hearing impaired is no longer condemned to sense music through the selective  vibration of low pitches (the bass), but through a much richer variety of variations.


Daryn Bond’s Harmonic Matrix