Vocal Vibrations – unique new vocal experiment featuring Bowers & Wilkins

Tod Machover's Vocal Vibrations, Le Laboratroie, Paris

MIT Professor Tod Machover presents a unique new voice and body installation.

Composer, inventor and MIT Professor Tod Machover is set to unveil his new voice and body experiment, running 28 March-29 September, at Le Laboratoire, Paris. All speakers and headphones used in the unique experience are provided by Bowers & Wilkins.

“Vocal Vibrations” is an immersive experience that examines the relationship between human physiology and the resonant vibrations of voice.

Machover has worked with designer and architect Neri Oxman from the MIT Media Lab, – along with Tenzin Priyadarshi, founder and director of the Dalai Lama Centre at MIT, Machover’s The Opera Of The Future group and Alan Grodzinsky, director of MIT’s Centre of Biomedical Engineering – to create a “Cocoon” and “Chapel” designed to encourage visitors to meditate in an immersive environment using cues generated by their own voices and body’s response.

Vocal Vibrations uses complex technology to layer audio, physical and other stimuli on top of visitors’ voices; audio, lighting and tactile cues will be triggered by sensors in specially designed, hand-held orbs, while measurements are taken for such responses as heart rate, breathing and galvanic skin response. Key to the experience are the latest 683 and 686 loudspeakers, PV1D subwoofers and P7 headphones all supplied by renowned British speaker brand Bowers & Wilkins.

Machover said of the impact of these: “Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers and headphones sound absolutely amazing in these spaces and really ‘make’ the experience.”

The aim in the “Cocoon” is to immerse visitors in a powerful, musical experience and also use light projection, “hand-held” vibration, and the specially designed Gemini chair to guide the visitor through a meditation that measurably changes visitors’ mental and physical state. As well as the Cocoon, visitors can meditate in a quiet collective “Chapel” space where voices are designed to envelop them, always revolving around a single tonality, with voice experiments in this space aimed at exploring the resonances and benefits participants gain from group singing and chanting.

As well as the immersive installation itself using a wide variety of technological tools to enhance the experience, including Bowers & Wilkins headphones and speakers for pristine audio quality, Vocal Vibrations is developing iPad apps for use before arrival and after the experience is over. When the installation opens at the new Le Laboratoire Cambridge (USA) in October 2014, these apps will provide preparation tools for visitors as well as an ongoing course of vocal meditations with progress tracked via an online community.

Vocal Vibrations in association with Bowers & Wilkins runs 28 March-29 September (private view 27 March), Le Laboratoire, 4 rue du Bouloi, 75001, Paris.

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