Orchestra of the Tactile was an innovative audio/tactile experimental concert presenting new compositions and works exploring tactile or vibratory modalities of sound and music by media artists Marla Hlady, Gordon Monahan, David Bobier, and Alison O’Daniel. It took place at the Music Gallery in Toronto, Ontario on April 23, 2015.
Through the project, InterAccess along with the VibraFusionLab explored creative means of sensitizing audiences to new perceptual registers between vibration and sound – literally through their skin. InterAccess expanded this engagement to be open to hearing-abled, deaf and hard of hearing audiences alike. The ambition was to expand the already interdisciplinary field of experimental sound and music to include the vibrotactile forms and aesthetics. The motivation for forming this event as an “orchestra” was to offer an open and stretchable concept for the artists to work from, to take the form of an orchestra as a laboratory space that allows the alteration of materials and processes throughout.
A number of diverse tactile systems were set up at the Music gallery to offer a fully accessible and complimentary vibrational experience of the entire audio visual presentation. Monahan invited us into his magical world of invention through the innovation of seeing, hearing and feeling the heating up and boiling of water particles; Hlady presented the opportunity of feeling the manipulation of sound distortion through a variable-speed rotating microphone and her signature technical craft; through heightened colour and carefully emphasized sounds O’Daniel intensified her film presentation to provide the unique additional emphasis of the vibratactile; Bobier’s ‘faux’ projection/sound instruments, through the employment of programmable music boxes, ‘punchable’ music score strips and LED helmet lights, transformed braille script into modes of vibration, visualization and sound.
Photos by Stefan A. Rose