Conference paper Open Access


Nerness, Barbara

embody is a piece for live performers using stethophones (stethoscope microphones), which I have created from hacked stethoscopes, in order to amplify the heartbeat and voice in the chest or vocal tract. The motivation came from my exploration of the sounds trapped within my body, such as my heartbeat and the resonance of my voice in my vocal tract or chest. Is it possible to record our voice as we hear it in our head? On the surface, embody asks the questions: “What if the ocean had a heart? What if machines could speak?” In some sense, the ocean does have a pulse through tides and machines do make noise, we just do not understand them as human. In the piece, sounds of the natural and built environment are anthropomorphized using the sounds inside the performers’ bodies. On a technical level, the sounds were constructed using spectral convolution and envelope following, probing the spectral overlap of our bodies with sounds external to us. The piece includes sounds from two eld recording sessions; one at the beach in Pescadero and another on a tour through the Stanford Energy Facility. The piece is spatialized in 3rd order Ambisonics to resemble a sonic body.

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