Bodily Hearing: Infrasound

There are some lovely, lovely sounds and sound-makers in the current issue of Art Practical (13.3 The Sound Issue). Matt Sussman’s short article introduced me to an aspect of Randy H. Yau’s work that I hadn’t come across before: his collaboration with Scott Arford under the name ‘Infrasound‘. The duo’s manifesto strikes a chord (*groan*) with the interests of this blog:

“Hear with your body.  This is not about music. This is not about performance or the performer . . . It is about provoking new modes of perceiving and experiencing one’s own body “

Yau and Arford create performances using sounds in the 20 – 60 Hz range, playing with acoustic phenomena to higlight sound as a physical force. Bodies abound in Sussman’s account: “The fact that I’m wearing earplugs is now irrelevant. Crossing to the other side of the room is more like swimming than walking. With every step I am more conscious of my body and the invisible particles brushing against and off of it, their paths tracing and re-tracing the surfaces of every other body and object within the room.” This is more than just a psychological submersion in sound; it’s a process of feeling as hearing, the listening body as more than an ear. As for swimming . . . I’ll be coming back to immersion later. Stay tuned.

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