performers, long PVC hoods
Skull Acoustics is a performance artwork made in collaboration with Chris Braddock. Performers face each other and are joined by a PVC acoustic hood-like device that sits over their heads. This acoustic hood references the artwork First Workset (1963- 1969) by sculptor Franz Erhard Walther. By leaning back slightly and pulling the hoods taut, the performers negotiate a balance between both their bodies and the object. Maintaining an equilibrium, they simultaneously hum one note at the pitch of their own speaking voice for a 30-minute period. Humming the sound of your own voice was a direction given by musician, composer and musicologist Pauline Oliveros when teaching participants in her own works how to ‘listen deeply’. Participants soon realise that their own individual note (hum) differs from other people’s notes, but that when shared the sounds often slip into a unison or harmonious voice.
In connecting two hummed notes by way of a physical hood/object, and one that captures and transmits sound waves through its materiality (the type of PVC fabric it is made from), the performance demonstrates a social exchange of sound and voice through physical sculpture and performance.
The duration, simplicity and repetitive nature of the performance also refers to a history of performance art practice, and meditation practice.
Skull Acoustics was first performed as part of PSi#22 in Melbourne, Australia in July 2016, and later at the Auckland Art Gallery (NZ), 2017.
Our thanks to everyone who has helped to perform this artwork.