HAPTIC SOUND INSTALLATION
Rootedness is an interactive installation that, when a person touches soil on a table, contact microphones pick up low frequencies. The sounds are amplified and speaker produced vibrations are emitted on the person’s feet and other parts of their body.
“The only sense that is fast enough to keep pace with the astounding increase of speed in the technological world is sight. But the world of the eye is causing us to live increasingly in a perpetual present, flattened by speed and simultaneity” – Johani Pallasma, The Eyes of the Skin
“Touch teaches us that life has depth and contour, it makes our sense of the world and ourself three-dimensional” – Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses
The interactive installation “Rootedness” is a study of the relationship between touch and sound through technology designed to elevate the awareness of these senses. The focus is on diminishing visual stimulation to help reconcile the sense of touch, which is considered an almost obsolete sense with just private and practical uses. By becoming aware of it, one can better understand their own body and facilitate self-discovery. In much of western culture, the sense of sight is tantamount to truth. Not seeing means non-existence and humanity limits itself with a narrow perspective by only considering information obtained through sight. By becoming aware of unseen realities, one can leave old perspectives and create new guidelines for tackling today’s challenges and applying of new technologies.
The piece consists of a 30”x 30” wooden table and a 30” x 60” wooden platform underneath it. The table has a mesh tabletop covered by soil. Underneath the mesh there are contact microphones sewn so that are virtually invisible to the person interacting with the piece. From the four corners of the table, canvas hangs about halfway down the height of the table. This canvas catches soil coming down through the mesh and also covers a 15-inch speaker hidden underneath it. The installation is set in a small dark space with minimal light meant to show where the soil and platform are located. Throughout the installation there is a droning low hum in the background along with the strong smell of the soil. Participants are encouraged to stand on the platform without shoes and touch the soil. The contact microphones in the mesh pick up the low frequencies and amplify the sound and vibrations of hands moving through and touching the soil.