Spatial Sound

A Sonic Investigation Across Bodies, Cultures and Technologies

Michelle Lewis-King

Michelle Lewis­-King was Artist-in-Residence at 4DSOUND collaborating with 4DSOUND’s director and composer Paul Oomen to develop a new interface and audio design that would give a spatial ‘shape’ to her sonic interpretations of participants’ bodies that she had so been trying to realise throughout the duration of the project. This new interface and sound design was presented at TodaysArt NL 2015 festival in Den Haag, Nederland in September, as part of 4DSOUND: Circadian. In 2017 it was also presented as part of 4DSOUND: Reflections From the Inner Mirror.

Pulse Project is a doctoral performance research series exploring the relational interfaces between medicine, culture and technology. In this study, she embodies and performs research practice itself through adopting the role of artist­-acupuncturist­-investigator and acting as an instrument or medium between herself and others and between cultural traditions for understanding and mediating the body. Pulse ‘reading’, case histories, notations of pulses and acupuncture point locating are all used together as methods for exploring the cultural encounter between artist, participants and diverse medical practices.

Drawing upon her experience as a clinical acupuncturist (with training in biomedicine), she uses traditional Chinese medicine and music theories together with technology to compose bespoke algorithmic soundscapes expressive of an individual’s ‘being’ that registers along a spectrum between Asian and Western approaches to the body. These soundscapes are not sonifications of western principles of circulation but offer another perspective to conceive of/listen to the interior spaces of the body­ as each participant’s pulse is interpreted as a unique set of sound­wave images based on traditional Chinese pulse diagnosis (a complex set of 28+ waveform images corresponding to states of being) and also according to traditional Chinese music theory (Lewis-King, 2014).