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Embassy of Inclusive Society

Haptic Room Studies

#1 Porcelain Membrane Wall
#3 Conversation Piece

Porcelain Membrane prototype. 29 x 29cm. — © Photo by Alina Ozerova

HRS #1 & #3 are experimental installation spaces that offer another way of experiencing sound: “haptic listening” explores complex textures and layers of the world of sound through somatic perception when a body is in contact with a room’s interior surfaces, be it a wall, floor, seat or bannister.

Haptic Room Study #1: Porcelain Membrane Wall

This space is made of tactile porcelain tiles and a tactile wooden floor. In this room study, we focus on the translation of sound in film, a medium where audio and visual components are woven together to create a more complete universe for the viewer. Sound has an essential role in storytelling: it tells what is happening outside the frame, gives strong clues to the characters’ emotional realities, and offers a non-visual and non-verbal path into the protagonist’s mind. Without sound, the film lacks a significant part of the creators’ vision. Hence, in this haptic room, we restore film audio cues through touch. Mapping the human body’s sensitivity, we created a spatial haptic system where various sounds are experienced in different locations on the body, making decoding easier for the brain. The perception is similar to how an ear can differentiate between various simultaneous frequencies without them blurring into a single sound.
HRS#1 Porcelain Membrane Wall features the film Summer Camp (2007) by Yael Bartana. Courtesy of Van Abbemuseum and Yale Bartana.

Haptic Room Study #3: Conversation Piece

We designed this installation to create a space for two people to have a dialogue: each person can feel their own voice and the voice of the other through haptics. A person’s voice carries meaning in its tone, rhythm, and melody, as well as their choice of words. Through pitch manipulation and filtering, the acoustics of the vocal sounds are reduced and translated into frequencies we can perceive through touch. This room study is part of our research in the multi-sensory experience of the human voice and in how to create a space for an intimate meeting between body and voice.
HRS #3 Conversation Piece features the voice of the public in the room (interactive or crowd-sourced)

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About The OtherAbilities

The OtherAbilities is an Amsterdam-based art initiative founded by Adi Hollander and Eva Fotiadi to pursue research within the art and technology fields on the implications, potential and attainability of translation between senses. The initiative serves as a hub for interdisciplinary collaborations
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