Somatic Echo, spatial bone conduction


Bone-conducted sound, or sound that can be heard because the vibrations travel to the ear not through air but through the respective vibrations of the bones of the skull, has been experimented with in hearing aids since the 1920s, but its use for compositions is very recent. Juri Hwang uses it in “Somatic Echo”, through 6 transducers put in the face of the user and two in the back of their head to listen to an 8-channel composition. The sounds are literally travelling through the head, and vibrations are also going through the skin. Hwang has emphasised the possibility of this particular configuration, letting sounds ‘travel’ through the headspace, investigating how the psycho-acoustics can influence our perception of space. Confronted with a setting that reminds of the pre-born experience of sound in the womb, the listener is aurally naked, with his inner body harmlessly exposed to the will of the composer, establishing a new relationship between the two. (photo credit: Keale Jensen)


Juri Hwang – Somatic Echo