“Sound and the haptic 2: a singing intestine”   Leave a comment

On October 28th, I posted about fart sounds on page 177.31 -177.33 of Finnegans Wake.

Well wouldn’t you just know, surfing around on Yvon Bonenfant’s website just now (Yvon is friend and vocal artist who I already posted about today) I found an article of his titled: Sound, touch, the felt body and emotion: Toward a haptic art of voice.

In the section “sound and the haptic 2: a singing intestine” he writes:

“At a certain point in my life I decided to become a client in body psychotherapy… After a couple of years trying out one technique, I moved cities, and heard about this strange new psychotherapy technique that somehow involved electronically amplifying the intestines. I decided to try it … I had had intestinal irritation in my teens and thought, well, what the hell. The first experience of hearing my intestines was astonishing, indeed delightful. I had been involved in avant-garde improvisation training in music, searching for spontaneity in sound, and here it was: ringing in my own belly. An intestine filled with orchestras of sound. An amplified stethoscope head captured the sound and broadcast it over speakers. But most intriguingly, these sounds had appeared and increased due to a special kind of touch being used on my body by the practitioner. The touch was called biodynamic massage3, but it was completely unlike any other ‘massage’ I had heard of or tried. It was ultra-light, practiced overtop of clothing on unthreatening parts of the body (the top of the head, around the eyebrows, the fingertips, the toes) and the touch qualities used were butterfly-like: delicate, precise, rhythmic, patterned, almost like brushing gently against the most superficial layers of the skin rather than ‘rubbing’ or ‘kneading’ it. It was a practice of interaction with the most superficial layers of dermal membrane. The more the touch was used, the more sound my intestines made. I fell into a sort of dream state, seeing images, feeling things come together, and I talked about them.”

Later Yvon cites the work of the French psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu, to propose that:

“Voice is not only a haptic stimulus, soliciting our engagement and active reaction; Anzieu’s theories mean that engaging with the body through vocal art also targets our very ability to engage with others in the development of a space of vocal exchange that interacts with and stimulates our skin, helping reinforce our identity, and that resonates backwards to our earliest experiences of vulnerability and relationship. This means that the touch of voice – like the touch of skin – is a touch that moves beyond the present to stimulate unconscious notions about how we learned about relationship.”

My goodness, and Finnegans Wake is so, so voiced!

“Bonenfant singing onto and touching silk  during Soie soyeuse”

Photo: Caroline Mercier, Galerie Talmart,  Paris 2008

Posted November 5, 2010 by R.H.H. Nisbet in psychology (pleasure), sound art

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