Sound Map is an experimental collaborative project on the sound, touch and movement relations of the body and dress
Clothing is generally considered to be soundless unless bodies are interacting with them—wearing them, scrunching them, taking them off, hanging them into a closet, folding them, or otherwise handling them—and the resulting sounds include lipstick containers popping, jewelry jangling, nylon stockings or leather jackets rubbing against something, handbags swinging back and forth, and heels clacking.
The ‘becoming-state’ (Stasiulyte, 2017) of a sound-emitting object refers to how the object shifts from being an inaudible object to one which produces sound. The human body’s haptic and kinetic interactions empower the article of clothing to become a sonic object; in fact, many articles are associated with a characteristic known as identifying sounds. For instance, a sound could be identified and associated with the action of opening and closing a fashion item, for example, a jacket, bag, or umbrella. Each of us creates an identifying sound by talking while breathing, and we have a unique style of walking that can be recognized as well.
Sound could be attachable as well. If we attach, e.g., a sounding object/accessory to a moving body, the sound extends it. Moving a clothed body becomes a sonic event. The attachable sounding object amplifies and choreographs the movements differently; thus, the bodily rhythms become an echo of a particular sound. It is important to consider the notion of a sonic body/sonic silhouette in the fashion field. As the human body is sonorous already, it merges with the sounds of clothing while interacting. The inner sound of an unclothed body is one of the categories that I consider within this thesis.
While collaborating with Dr. Linnea Bågader, we explored the relationship between a moving body and a sounding object and “mapping the sound”. The moving body becomes a sound event and creates a sonic space.
The research workshop aimed to investigate the notion of a sonic silhouette and explore the relationship between the subject (body) and object (sound of dress) using three different variables (balance, placement, quantity).
The performer experimented with the sound objects, moving with them and exploring the relationship between her body, movement, and the sounds that the objects emitted. The wearable and attachable sound objects amplified and choreographed movements in different ways, with sounds echoing bodily rhythms. The investigation was performed using three variables:
Placement: feet, legs (upper/lower part), waist, chest, arms (upper/lower part), head.
Balance: asymmetrical, symmetrical.
Quantity: single, several, or multiple objects.
The performer explored the pre-made toolkit, which consisted of seven sound objects:
1. A t-shirt featuring metal bells.
2. Paper shoes.
3. A remade musical instrument (made of the shell of a nut and wooden balls attached to a leather bracelet);
4. Grains inserted into wooden sticks.
5 and 6. Remade musical instruments (made of wooden sticks).
7. A remade musical instrument (a wooden ball filled with small metal balls).
stills from video documentation
short video documentation here
The result of collaboration was presented in the exhibition Speculate, Collaborate, Define (2017)
at the Textile Museum, Borås.
Image credits: Jan Berg