The ear is a muscle

Participatory sound installation, 2019

2 channel sound, audio transducers on inflatable object and plastic, proximity and inclination censors, gym mats, suspended fitness ball, balance board, suspended ring, acoustic foam, yellow thread, black towel, construction helmet, sport weights.

For 'Kunst op de Koffie' festival taking place in Arnhem in November 2019 I am developing a number of sound experiences. Its title 'The ear is a muscle' is a paraphrase of Yvonne Rainer's title for a choreographic performance 'The mind is a muscle' (1966). This work positioned at the intersection of sound art, participatory installation and performance is a part of my 'Non-vertical listening' series of sonic projects.

If we look around it is easy to notice that urban planning mostly uses orthogonal spatial model which implies the vertical axis of our body while traversing the city or inhabiting spaces. There are very few situations in everyday life when non-verticality is allowed or embedded: sleep/nap, sexual/intimate activity, sports or physical training. Most of them are reserved to private spaces. While in public we are mainly controlled by keeping ourselves in vertical mode. In my practice I want to question that type of vertical that freezes and alienates listener from sound-maker or performer. Alternatively I suggests non-vertical modes in which sonic and visual stimulation can take over not only our ears and eyes, but also limbs, joints, bones and body cavities.


In this new work created for 'Kunst op de Koffie' I want to integrate kinesthesia (perception of movement and working muscles) with task based listening and physical exercising. Installed in the interior of a private house it will offer the audience one-on-one experiences of sound, its tactility and corporeal sensations. In this participatory installation I will take a role of a 'sonic-trainer' and guide individually every visitor through the listening exercises.


Exercises: (1) peanut ball

Exercises: (2) balance board and (3) suspended ring