The Voice Trunk joins 45 other university research projects for a week-long exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London as part of Universities Week 2014 (9-13 June), which highlights the value and importance of university research.
The Voice Trunk is a touchable sculpture using light and sound to guide the audience to ‘put their voices’ into the sculpture and then touch different surfaces, including sensors. They can change and transform the recordings of their voices both in real-time and as the sounds play back to them. Up to five people can play with the sculpture at one time, hearing the results through wireless headphones.
“I’m really delighted that The Voice Trunk was selected to showcase what we might call artistic research in action – known to us within universities as ‘practice-as-research’,” said project leader Dr Yvon Bonenfant, Reader in Performing Arts at the University of Winchester. “We work hard to develop innovative ways of making art and of bringing it to different groups.
“We explore new kinds of artistic experiences and how these might open doors to creative, cultural and social possibilities. In this case, we wanted to create a really sophisticated work for mixed ages, including children and families, to help them celebrate the unique qualities all of our voices have.
“We wanted to get away from the pressure to sing well and instead help people explore their unique vocal sound and play with all the different things the voice might do.”
Dr Bonenfant and his team are supported by the University and the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, and funded by the Wellcome Trust Large Arts Awards and Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts.
The installation is complemented by a free iPad app, www.voicebubblesapp.com, as well as activity sheets families can do together at www.yourvivaciousvoice.com/fun
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts MP officially launches Universities Week on Monday 9 June. Visitors to the Natural History Museum during 9 to 13 June will find a scaled down version of The Voice Trunk in the Darwin Centre. The complete installation goes on show at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium in July.
Find out more about Universities Week 2014 at www.universitiesweek.org.uk