Disembodied voices

11 : 05 : 2016 Wellcome Collection : This Is A Voice : Exhibition

London – This is a Voice, the latest exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, explores the role of vocalisation in communication.

  • The exhibition tries to make sense of the complex psychological and physiological origins of the voice
  • It features works by artists, musicians and researchers, including Chris Chapman and Matthew Herbert
Matthew Herbert, Chorus, 2016 as part of This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles Matthew Herbert, Chorus, 2016 as part of This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles
This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles
This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles
This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles
This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles This is a Voice at Wellcome Collection, London. Photography by Michael Bowles

Designed as an acoustic journey, the exhibition brings together a wide range of works by contemporary artists and vocalists, accompanied by paintings, medical illustrations and anthropological research.

5Hz by Emma Smith is based on research into the role of the voice in social bonding, while Castrato by Imogen Stidworthy is the result of working with three voices at the top of the vocal range: a young male treble, a female soprano and a countertenor to simulate the castrato voice using digital merging.

‘While dominant theories have traditionally focused on linguistics, here the spotlight is on the meaning and emotions conveyed through prosody – the patterns of rhythm, stress and intonation,’ explains curator Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz.

The Big PIcture

Voice recognition used to be clunky and inaccurate, but new technology is introducing nuance to human-machine voice communication. Find out more in our Interface Market report.

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