Skull Acoustics (2017)

Chris Braddock & Olivia Webb, Skull Acoustics (collaborative live performance), 12:00pm, 7 October 2017, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand.

Skull Acoustics is a performance artwork made in collaboration with Olivia Webb. 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’.

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.

Skull Acoustics was first performed as part of PSi#22 in Melbourne, Australia in July 2016.

Review of Skull Acoustics by John Hurrell, EyeContact.