Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sonic Physiognomy

A nod to the future and the past, this is an instrument that uses the face as a score for music.

Sonic Physiognomy is my response to the politicization of the human face, drawing a relationship between the historical practices of physiognomy or face reading and the technologies of facial recognition and iris identification used for tracking and surveillance.

The is a form of live sonic portraiture, and comprises an installation wherein participants volunteer to have their face “scanned” and translated into sound. (For a future interation, each song will be recorded and made available for download to be used as unique sonic signatures in other applications, such as ringtones on cell phones.)

Detail of exterior wall and interior scanning projection

The Sonic Portrait installation consists of a “scan pod” that is made of over 615 unique pieces of corrugated cardboard that form the shape of two interlocking spirals.

 Inside the pod is a mirror, LED, plexiglass screen, a pico projector, a portable speaker, and a webcam. The pod is open to allow people to put their heads inside.

A subject's silhouette is captured and the topography of the face is read into a unique series of chimes and sonic harmonies.

Adam Brillhart looking at the translucency of the material during construction

Interior during construction