Making the voice inter-sensory: material engagement, participation, and dramaturgy for disAbled and non-disAbled audiences
Since 2010, Yvon Bonenfant has experimented with human, technological and hybrid interventions that invite, entice, and convince audiences to become experimental voice artists as participants. In an Artistic Research context, he has collaborated with coders, sound engineers, materials engineers, psycholinguists and voice and speech medical scientists to develop these experiences.
In this presentation, he critically explores four case studies. He begins from his research for Five Installations to Touch the Voice Inside Out, concepts for making the unique qualities of each user’s human voice touchable material, while remaining an animate, real-time, visual, tactile and sonic experience, and then shows how aspects of the initial concepts and R+D work were tested, refined and made manifest in three other projects. These are: Resonant Tails (2018-ongoing) – a mobile, inter-sensory ‘theatre of the voice’ for young people with complex disAbility; Curious Replicas, a mobile hair-styling, touch-styling and voice-styling station for passers-by in public space (2016-18); and his R+D work for Loop Love (R+D 2019-, full production 2023), a sculptural, layered, looping theatre of the voice for adults with mild to moderate learning disAbility. All of these artistic concepts involved long processes of audience testing; observation of audience behaviour by independent evaluators; and the integration of theatrical concepts of ‘how the audience performs’ in immersive environments with practices from radically different disciplines. All of them also included various strategies for making what psycholinguists call ‘voice qualities’ as material as possible.
Through so doing, Yvon explores how using Artistic Research frameworks to navigatedramaturgical, observational, artistic and performative somatic (body and sensation-centred) approaches to participation, and how emerging paradigms from Audience Studies within Theatre and Performance Studies, can provide alternative, highly speculative, yet deeply involved engagements with audience within the development of digitally-inclusive, mediated and participatory experience, and how materiality forms a key component of the aesthetic experience that invite performative participation.
Yvon Bonenfant, PhD is a performance-maker, art-maker and researcher. His work explores the sensual power of the unusual voice and body. Since 2010, his work has largely focused on unearthing and developing how we best invite participants to explore the virtuosic glory of their own vocal difference, and to celebrate that difference through interaction. By extension, he is interested in tactile art and performance, visuality, and environments that celebrate the artistic expression of unruly bodies. His work and collaborations have shown in 10 countries over 30 years, and he has published widely; his work has reached both very large user numbers (The Voice Trunk, in the hundreds of thousands, over 7 years) and very small, niche and under-represented audiences (Resonant Tails, for children with profound and multiple learning disAbilities, 300 regular users). He has collaborated regularly with both biomedical scientists of the voice, coders, designers and engineers to realise his interactive work. Funders of his work have included: Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council England, Irish Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK, the Wellcome Trust, and many others. He is Head of the Department of Theatre at University College Cork, Ireland. For more information about our speaker, check www.yvonbonenfant.com & bit.ly/YvonResearch
Understanding human haptic performance is important, both from fundamental and applied points of view. Psychophysical experiments are the way to investigate this performance, but there is not just one way to do so. In this talk, I would like to share my experience with psychophysical experiments with the audience.
One important take home message is that human perception is often not veridical, whereas that is usually taken for granted when designing man-machine interfaces. Although humans are flexible and well able to learn how to deal with the pecularities of the devices they are working with, making the interaction more intuitive will eventually save time and energy (of the human) and improve safety.
Recently, I became involved in the haptic perception research that is needed for designing haptic communication devices for persons with deafblindness. By means of vibration motors, haptic messages can be presented on the back or other body parts. As haptic stimuli will not always be perceived correctly, when designing such devices, one should carefully consider how to present the haptic stimuli so that they are perceived as intended.
Astrid Kappers is a full professor of Fundamental and Applied Haptics at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). She is an expert on human perception, both haptics and vision. Her research has always had a strong fundamental focus, but recently, she has also been involved in more applied research. She has over 30 years of experience in research on perception. She (co-)authored more than 250 publications and she has been (co)-promotor of 29 PhD students. She participated in several national and international research consortia, the most recent being the European Horizon project ‘SUITCEYES’ (https://suitceyes.eu). She has been a Member of the Editorial Boards of Acta Psychologica between 2006 and 2021, the Current Psychology Letters between 2000 and 2011, and is an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Haptics from 2007 to 2011 and since 2017.
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26 February – 1 March 2023 in Warsaw, Poland in University of Warsaw Library and Copernicus Science Centre