In an intimate and sensual atmosphere of playful fun, Curious Replicas draws attention to the similarities between hair and voice. Just like our hair, our voices straddle the genetic and the cultural. We’re born with our fundamental vocal anatomy, but we shape our sounds with the dances of our tongues and faces. They resonate out from us differently due to the differing shapes of our skulls. Then, we add languages, accents, genders, attitudes, and social roles… We style our voices all the time. Our voices are… wigs!
Through engaging with this artwork, actively or as a listener, audience are introduced to another kind of vocal creativity. They mould their voices like clay. They style their vocal wigs. They become someone else – someone else *they* invent. They make their own voice-art. Of course, wigs and hair are touchable. They have tactile texture. So, Curious Replicas lends your voice texture too. Shimmering up through your spine, the subtle changes in your vibration resonate in your seat. Our innovative ultrasound array lets you feel your voice’s touch-qualities massage your very palm. You bathe in your vocal stylings.
In a world where publics are told – indirectly or directly – that their voices aren’t good enough, beautiful enough, male or female enough, powerful enough, soft enough, or controlled enough to be beautiful, to take up space, and to radiate outward, Curious Replicas carves out a space where everyone’s voice can be shaped and styled, just like the professionals’. It winks at long histories of digital manipulation of voice in art, with joyful and immersive sensory overwhelm, and introduces time-based touch art to the world.
Based in our extensive learning on how to engage audiences in digital installation from Yvon Bonenfant’s Voice Trunk – which has now reached some 230K audience – Curious Replicas invites all ages to reimagine their vocal selves and to literally touch their vocal creativity.
Learn more on the ethos behind Tract and Touch’s work.
Learn more about what we are.
Overall, the work added texture, sonic colour, and tactility to our environment. Its playful engagement with the materiality of the voice, its willingness to attract touch and grappling with its surfaces, and the vibration of its seat and hand array all worked together to bring the public inside challenging questions around the voice, and around the nature of the human voice today – shaped by digital manipulation as much as by our bodies – while remaining warm and friendly for the user. It did this while enabling the user to create audio art of their own, where a sort of ‘vocal becoming’ of the body blended with a sonic and visual becoming of its surroundings. The burnished brass ‘mirror’, audio feedback and controls sent another kind of self out into the world, and made that self visible and audible for the user. You could say that these moments of sensory blending were beautiful, in an unusual and exciting way.
When Tract and Touch collaborated with artist Harold Offeh to activate Curious Replicas, a festive, frolicksome and conversational atmosphere emerged where the users played with their visual images as much as their sound. The library of wigs offered to them offered up interesting opportunities to consider more deeply the way we style both our visual images and our vocal utterances, in a spirit of fun.
We are delighted to have supported the bringing of this work to Southampton’s publics.”
-Jessica Whitfield, Exhibitions, City Art Gallery, Southampton
- In public space: children of all ages, right from age 3-4, respond with gusto to the installation and break the ice for older children and adults. Small family groups and mixed age audiences use it with verve
- We have also had many users in the 18-35 demographic in public space, with a strong emphasis on the 20-27 year old age range.
- With Harold Offeh and the Wig Library: Harold really entices older and shyer users to grapple with the work and stimulates really interesting conversations about the voice, about identity, and about each person’s vocal history. He also works fantastically with party-style environments – the wigs create an atmosphere of fun.
- Festivals: The installation works well with adults who’ve had one or two drinks or who are in party mood. The wigs, the design, and the atmosphere all work together.
- Contemporary art, music, performance-style audiences: Audiences open to identity play – audiences for contemporary art, contemporary music and live art, will all use the installation with curiosity and interest, with or without Harold.
- On a busy Saturday, we have counted up to 127 users per hour in the relatively calm Southampton Civic Centre lobby space, of mixed ages. This can be scaled up (see above).
- People will listen to each other, browse, and try out in groups of friends/family.
- The installation is just large enough that multiple fingers can touch the controls and people use the phone receivers to hear and share their sounds.
- The users’ work creates a sonic tapestry and backdrop that creates an intriguing and beguiling environment for listeners and passers-by. They will stop and listen, or sit down and listen for anywhere from 10 seconds to 15 minutes. Some users spend 10-30 seconds on the installation, others (or their groups) will dwell for longer periods – 10 minutes or so. Sharing of the installation seems to happen naturally without Harold.
- We can create simple responsive LED projections around the work to attract visual attention in busy or large spaces.
Example 1: We can add vibrating, responsive mirrors (without sound) for 5 to 90 more people and design them beautifully like a large salon (technologies fully tested/refined).
Example 2: We can create playground of vibration responsive sculptural shapes that carry voices through space as touch/sound/light, including across larger landscapes (technologies fully tested/refined).
Example 3: We can work with stylist partners to develop live image/make-up/hair styling alongside the artwork.
Could artists write for it or use it for concerts? Yes.
- Curious Replicas includes two induction loops; tactile interfaces (for tactile tours), and is almost entirely touchable.
- It is designed to be wheelchair accessible with minimal assistance.
- We are working on an adaptation for PMLD children/young adults.
• Public spaces.
• Walk-through spaces.
• In a dressing room, or anteroom, at a special event.
• In tents at festivals (minimum temperature 10 degrees C and sun cover required for outdoor festival environment).
PR ASSETS, PROMO COPY, TARGETED ADD-INS, TWEETS
- Five 5-second teaser videos (Twitter/Facebook)
- 2 minute video trailer
- 2.5 minute ‘explanatory’ trailer (with interview excerpts)
- Library of high-quality still Sound files from the work (for radio interviews or your web site)
- Wide range of promo copy/interview texts
- A beautiful website, optimized for mobile devices
- We will have a PR agent on tour promotion
- We will provide in house social media buildup
- We have an existing relationship with an excellent and reliable social media agency who drove thousands of users to other work, and who can develop a bespoke package for and with you
Sample ‘coming soon’ teasers are embedded below.
Winking an eye to the long history of voice manipulation across artforms, and setting up a space where anyone is given the authority of the microphone, Curious Replicas brings you inside the very material of your body’s sound. You sculpt that sound with your own hands… and feel, hear and see it come back to you.
1 – Visit our voice-styling salon. Get a new vocal do. No appointment necessary. #CuriousReplicas by @tractandtouch
2 – Voice. Bronze. Shimmer. Style. Hear yourself anew. Invent your #CuriousReplicas
3 – Bring your sound – bring your touch – bring your hair – alive! Invent your #CuriousReplicas
4 – Like your voice? Enhance it. Don’t like your voice? Make a new one! Invent your #CuriousReplicas
5 – *You* get the microphone. Invent your #CuriousReplicas
TECHNICAL & COSTINGS
The installation is constructed from extremely durable, tactile material that nonetheless has a beautiful finish. It is weighted so that it is almost impossible to knock over (it would take tools/a vehicle).
The innards of Curious Replicas are sealed; theft of its digital content would take careful planning.
- Curious Replicas plugs in to one socket. Standard 220V power needs to be safely run to the installation.
- Its footprint is about 4 square metres including ‘space around it’. It needs seat clearance, but can be placed against a wall if required.
- Ideally it is sited so that it feels intimate for the user.
- Depending on location, it could be advantageous to light to work. We can provide low voltage, coloured, cold LEDs and match them to your environment. They can help attract users in larger or emptier spaces.
- The artwork is temperature and humidity sensitive – it shouldn’t operate under 10 degrees Celsius, and must be protected from rain or direct outdoor sun.
- We may need to store bubble wrap, packaging materials and maintenance kits with you. These are not voluminous. Where Harold Offeh is included, wig storage and a dressing room area are required.
- Acoustics and sound levels are carefully attuned to your environment.
There can be exceptions to the preceding in festival environments. Contact us.
Depending on exactly where it is, you may need to guarantee a certain number of walk-bys per day to an insurer, or that the object is in view of a ticketing counter or an invigilator. We can work with you to provide invigilation.
- At this point, we provide indications of costings that are *unsubsidized*, and that don’t include company overheads. We intend to apply to Grants for the Arts to underwrite touring and thus costings could well come down.
- Note that we may be able to reduce our costs to you if you are able to provide on-site non-specialist A/V support to the work.
- Note that the work is most expensive to get-in and tune up, and then get out again. It can be advantageous to run it for longer periods in frequented locations
- Get-in delivery: £260.00+gasoline (accommodation can be required depending on distance)
- Technician set-up and monitoring £500.00 flat fee throughout length of gig.
- Harold Offeh per half day GBP £220.00 + expenses
- On-call local technician GBP£250.00-£350.00/week depending on region.
- Get-out £260.00 + gasoline
Optional: enhanced PR with reliable agency FB/Twitter promo campaign: flat fee £700.00 + enhancements
Sample unsubsidized packages:
- 3 weeks in a public lobby space without live performer, within 180 miles of Southampton: GBP£2170.00
- 3 weeks in a public lobby space with 3 events by Harold Offeh, within 180 miles of Southampton GBP£2910.00, we provide all on-site digital monitoring
- Festival weekend, 3 long full days, without Harold: GBP £1820.00, we provide all live, on-site digital monitoring
- Festival weekend, 3 long full days, Harold present three half day sessions: GBP £2380.oo, we provide all on-site digital monitoring
- 3 months lobby space, launch event and then monthly events by Harold Offeh, within 250 miles of Southampton, we provide all on-site digital monitoring £5300. Substantial discount if you provide A/V technician.
We can build you a permanent ‘copy’ or adaptation of the Curious Replicas installation for you to own from GBP £12000, and smaller versions from GBP£3000.
Louisa Davies, performance, public spaces
Davies is an independent creative producer, working on a range of projects encompassing music, spoken word, film, theatre and outdoor arts, alongside a part time role as Events Manager for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is producing a number of high profile outdoor projects for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, alongside managing a busy events programme. For ten years, she was the Performing Arts Producer at mac Birmingham, where she led on the development and curation of mac’s performing arts programmes. This included two years when mac was closed for a £15m building project during which Louisa had a more strategic role developing mac’s future artistic strategy, and producing cross art-form projects. She is working with us on Curious Replicas.
Julia Haferkorn, music, visual art, innovative forms
Haferkorn is Director at Third Ear Ltd and has worked in the contemporary music and cross-artform sector for the past 20 years. She has produced a range of national and international new music tours, concerts and events and is experienced in setting up multi-partner and cross-artform projects, both within the arts sector and across the arts and academic sectors. For five years, she was Project Manager for Sound Circuit, an Arts Council funded consortium of promoters interested in new music and art projects. She is working with us on our Curious Replicas and Touching Your Voice Inside Out projects. www.thirdear.co.uk