Seiko Mikami    "World, Membrane and the Dismembered Body" [1-2]

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-(3) The Sense of Hearing
Upon entering the anechoic room, perhaps because sound is not at all reflected, it's as if the visitor's ears are no longer living. To begin with, the very shape of the ear gives the impression of being a kind of atrophied fossil. Unlike the eye, the ear does not lend itself as easily to metaphorical expressions, such as "keep your eyes open"; in the case of the ear there is no sense that one "keeps open" one's ears. Human ears don't work according to one's will. While the eye can intercept the flow of information by closing, the ear does not have the same power.
 The ears of the exhibition visitor register the sounds emitted from his own body through his body's membranes, which have been set to vibrating by noises originating therein. This project makes clear that perception largely takes place behind people's backs, so to speak. The acoustic sense extends its feelers to take account of places that the ears can't "see" and numericizes those distances. The ear functions as a sensor in that liminal place where the senses are inscribed, existing between the subject who perceives and the world that engenders perception.

(4) Architecture of Sensory Perception
In the world of virtual reality, acoustics often take a subordinate role to visuality. In fact, however, the eye can only attain a high level of awareness of a small fraction of the space to which its attentions are constantly being attracted. The ear, on the other hand, is able to take in information from a larger space. Many signals are transmitted via sound. This project attempts to express acoustic perception through the representation of its 3-D form. Further, waves of data such as psychological condition, images, and the body's internal sounds, are algorthmically expanded and contracted along a time axis. As these sounds connect with information from the inner body, they undergo further transformation.

The Anechoic Room and Acoustic Sense

NTT Basic Research Laboratories'
KASHINO Makio kindly contributed to the sound architecture of these works.

Where do the feelings of pressure and uneasiness that one experiences in the anechoic room originate? There is no reflection of sound in the anechoic room, nor is there any permeation of sound from the outside. Thus, the visitor to the anechoic room experiences the sensation of being suspended in an immense space without any form of acoustic orientation. In a normal environment, the visitor can orient himself almost unconsciously by taking in the sounds of footsteps, voices, and other varieties of sound and thereby gain an understanding of the size and materials that make up the space he occupies. But in the anechoic room, the environment that surrounds the visitor provides nothing for him to react to or interact with. He is unable to orient himself in the context of this environment. In short, his sense of perception is suspended. This project aims to make apparent the role of the acoustic sense in what would be at any other time a foregone conclusion: "I exist in this world." This project is not simply about thinking through how sounds effect one's brain and auditory system . It is also concerned with the seemingly subordinate elements of the acoustic process such as the locomotive system's interaction with an environment and changes in the body's internal organs. The anechoic room utilizes the quality of suspendedness to artificially create a situation in which the visitor is made aware of the mediation of sound in the interaction of auditor and environment.