Ten-channel surround sound augments meditation

Network World | Nov 6, 2014

Vocal Vibrations a new exhibit on display in Cambridge explores the art and science components of meditation.

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Vocal Vibrations a new exhibit on display in Cambridge explores the art and science components of meditation. From Tod Machover, the director of the Opera of the Future team at the MIT Media lab, the project includes both an individual and group experience. At the opening of the exhibit, artists performed a live version of the meditation music, but normally it would be played in 10 channel surround sound.

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Tod Machover
Composer, Vocal Vibrations
It's hard to tell right now but there's a collage of many many voices that float in and out. Sometimes it is very very simple, sometimes there is more. But there is always one note. There's always a D. No matter what happens it's there. It's also a note that resonates with many many things in the natural world. If I go outside almost anything that is wood will vibrate to a D. So it's an incredibly resonate note in the natural world

There's also an individual version in what Machover calls the cocoon. Users would sit in a chair, put on headphones that play the meditative music and hum or sing into a microphone. The orb that's held in their hand would resonate with whatever is being sung.

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Jessica Strauss
Sculptor
Your whole hand would vibrate. It's like your hand is a musical instrument.

Machover said the reason for adding music is that it has additional benefits over meditation alone. He said experiments showed that meditating and singing have positive impacts on blood pressure and tension.

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To me it's the beginning of a new kind of meditation.

Machover isn't new to an offbeat blend of art and science. He previously composed Death and the Powers an opera featuring robots.

His latest work, Vocal Vibrations is open daily until March at Le Laborotoire in Cambridge.

For the IDG News Service, I'm Nick Barber.