Singing through silk - Yvon Bonenfant

Sound, touch, the felt body and emotion: Toward a haptic art of voice
Yvon Bonenfant

quote... 'As an extended vocalist and performance artist, deriving my work, as I do, from experimental music, contemporary performance and body psychotherapy, sound and touch have come together to form a sort of aesthetic existential crux against which the rest of my practice revolves and rotates. In recent praxis, I have been exploring sound and touch from the perspective of the notion of membrane. Membranes are essential to both sound and touch:  they are that which permits perception of contact. The recently published National Scientific Research Centre of France’s Dictionary of the Body (Dictionnaire du corps) (Andrieu and Botsch 2008) defines touch as “the action of the movement through which two bodies come into contact with one another” (Nancy 2007: 325). Membranes permit this contact.
In my creative work, I have been working with a literal form of membrane. The fine, semi-transparent grade of habotai-weave silk I have been using for runs of my intimate performance Soie soyeuse (2007-8)has a number of startling characteristics. Firstly, I can sing from behind layers of this fabric and my voice is not stifled – it is as if I am singing in open air. Sound travels almost perfectly across the barrier, and I have found no other fabric which has such sound transparency yet is still opaque. Next, the silk, though cold for perhaps half a second when touching my skin, heats through and warms startlingly quickly: it takes on body temperature on contact very swiftly. Thirdly, despite its permeability to air, this incredibly thin layer of silk insulates extraordinarily well. It is fascinating. Like a second human skin, it cocoons and breathes; like an eardrum, suspended as it is in warm nests of human tissue and in contact with tiny bones, it reacts to sound while transmitting the sound waves on to the matter beyond. Holding the silk while singing, I can actually feel it vibrating; the sensation is one of toughness and fragility yoked together in one tissue. Not unlike our own human skin.....' for more  click here

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