Here we are today at the 2016 Brain Forum, a unique multidisciplinary annual gathering of neurologists, neuroscientists and engineers working on brain research. And we want to share with you the first reaction to the The Sonic Womb Orrb at the Brain Forum.
But going back 24 hours in time, Julian and I arrived yesterday afternoon to the Swisstech centre on the campus of the engineering school EPFL in Lausanne. To our delight, the space was beautiful, letting in wonderful amounts of sunlight.
The shiny white Sonic Womb Orrb was waiting for us on our booth. Our friend Lee the designer had driven it himself from the home counties all the way to Lausanne in a van. Aurelie was already hard at work, cabling it up. Inevitable last minute issues had to be fixed (dimming the lights inside the Orrb, resolving a slight rattling noise…) but then we could get on to the fine tuning of the experience.
As the sound inside the Orrb distributes itself between speakers and transducers, to mimic the fetus’s experience of hearing through the body rather than the ears, it is important to get the balance of vibration and sound just right. Too much airborne sound doesn’t reflect the experience. Too much vibration distracts from the experience. This is where Aurelie’s sensibility as sound artists really enhances our scientific project. We can circumscribe quite well our knowledge of what is available for the fetus to hear and how the fetus hears but adapting that experience to a fully grown adult is more art that science.
So having fiddled endlessly with our soundtrack to make it near perfect, you can imagine how excited we were to have our first reaction to it.
Jasmine was the first non Sonic Womb Productions listener to enter the Sonic Womb Orrb. She was the conference’s medic, who was called to our booth when Aurelie cut her finger. Fittingly, today was Jasmine’s birthday.