Sonic Womb Ladies

Rarely has a multi-disciplinary collaboration drawn more varied profiles than the Sonic Womb research project. Here are portraits of some of the individuals involved. Ladies first.

Aude (Thibaut), co-Founder

Eric and Julian’s original idea for the Sonic Womb soundtrack consisted of a “sound walk”, the walk of a pregnant opera singer to her place of work, the opera house. We would follow the singer as she wakes up, brushes her teeth, chats with her family at breakfast, walks to the tube (an extraordinarily noisy segment included an encounter with a jackhammer). As she arrives at the opera house, she starts with piano rehearsals then moves on to a stage performance with orchestra reaching a pinnacle of glorious applause.

This would allow the listener to experience the full range of sound sources involved in the fetal environment, external sounds, internal bodily sounds, and most intriguingly, the mother’s voice, whose pathways are both external and internal to the fetal experience.

A financier by training, Aude had the wonderful privilege of working for several years at the Royal Opera House, basking in its music, which even in the administrative departments, literally pours out of the walls though an internal speaker system. No less of a privilege, Eric delivered her twin babies, who were just a little too impatient to meet the world, and had to spend a few weeks in a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) incubator. Having spent her pregnancy exposing the twins in utero to the high culture sounds of Wagner, Mozart and Britten – with Bottom’s bass voice in rehearsal a particular favourite of “twin 2” – she was amused to find her newborns enjoying their NICU feeds to the frequency of Kiss FM.

Orchestra

Aude fell in love with the idea of exploring the auditory environment of the womb, hopefully leading to a better sound-optimised design for neonatal incubators.

Aurelie (Mermod), Sound diffusion system, concept & technique

Aurelie is a sound artist. After graduating from the MA in Sound Arts at University of the Arts London she is now a teaching assistant at the University of the Arts in Zurich. Her current project, Detroit Effect, experiments on the fascination with visual decay, towards a more complex and critical approach to the situation and future of Detroit, with sounds/noises aiming to be heard with the body rather than the ears.

Aurelie joined the project in 2015 to design the audio system inside the Orrb. She found it really interesting and challenging to articulate the research and ideas of the team into practice. It was a long process with interesting discussions on the high expectations of a sound concept and its diffusion system. She also really enjoyed meeting and learning from sound professionals to work on the concept and production: sound technicians, sound artists, professionals in acoustic, sound foam producer, and also designers.

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