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A body-literacy exhibit in which we'll amplify live heartbeats at various public spaces throughout San Francisco.
72 backers pledged $5,036 to help bring this project to life.

About

An Embodied Public Space: Soundscape of Human Hearts project video thumbnail
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$5,036

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Why Amplify Heartbeats?

A busy intersection in the Financial District of SF is one designated Soundscape site.
A busy intersection in the Financial District of SF is one designated Soundscape site.

Imagine walking down the street and randomly hearing a heartbeat--or 4. Or riding on a bus that at every stop boards another passenger with an audible heart. It would get your attention, no?  

  • The heartbeat is the most obvious embodied experience we can think of. Everyone has had the experience of their heartbeat speeding up or slowing down, and knows that when it does it has an immediate effect on how we feel. As such, it’s a great way into the experience of public embodiment & a broader discussion about body-literacy in our culture. 
  • What happens when you make something so private public?  We're excited to prompt the public to directly engage with their own heartbeat by engaging first with a strangers.
  • Embodied Public Spaces are spaces that intentionally heighten curiosity about our physical circumstances, and prompt us to explore our own agency in those physical circumstances.  We're incorporating current body-knowledge into our landscape to see how the undeterminable capacity of people and spaces to change each other plays out. 

What's it going to be like/How will it work?

The most involved exhibit will take at a busy downtown intersection, with a performer on each corner. Performers will be 'fixed' with a stethoscope-mic and speaker, and will amplify the sound of their own heartbeats in the public space around them. By placing a performer on every corner of a single intersection, we use repetition as a means to create an experience that is hard to ignore. In this way the Soundscape will appear as a deliberate, but unexpected, 'happening' that will reach a diverse public. 

Large-scale transparent screens will serve as visual beacons & informational displays, designate a stage for the performer & signify a semi-permeable membrane between private & public.
Large-scale transparent screens will serve as visual beacons & informational displays, designate a stage for the performer & signify a semi-permeable membrane between private & public.

How many happenings will there be?

  • The '4-corners' Soundscape will take place over 5 weekdays in April. Each will last for 2 hours, during lunchtime. 
  • We'll also be staging smaller solo-to-three performer happenings that will appear more random public spaces (in cafes, in parks, on busses, etc.) 
  • Sound scape of the Human Heart is the first of a series of We Are = Movement MOBL (Museum of Body Literacy) Embodied Anatomy exhibits.

Where will the money go?

  • Sound Equipment  
    We’re making self-contained amplifiers out of stethoscopes, lavelier mics, pre-amps and battery powered PA systems. 
  • Sound Technician
  • Making/Printing kiosks
    We’ve found a material that is virtually see-through, but can still hold ink. We need to treat and mount the material so it can be printed on digitally, and then have them sewn and the frames constructed.  We’re supporting all local artisans, except for the makers of the cloth.
  • Printed materials
    Posters, postcards, body-literacy stickers are all part of the campaign.
  • Rehearsal Space 

Why Public Art?

By engaging with the public artistically, we’re taking embodiment out of the health & wellness arena & into a context that broadens the dialogue, incites curiosity & informs the public’s direct experience with body literacy.

WAM's "Live Practice Gallery" in a storefront in the Mission District of SF. 2012
WAM's "Live Practice Gallery" in a storefront in the Mission District of SF. 2012

When it comes to the body, every conversation we initiate or overhear, every article or blog that we read is overwhelmingly framed by health, wellness, fitness or science. Or the focus is on athletic or theatrical performance, most often separated from us by a gulf of expertise.

                   But...“Everything we do is through movement.” 

                                                                           -Twyla Tharp    

We’re curious about that.  Because the context that most people learn about their bodies and apply that knowledge is way too limited, we’re  to creating spaces & exhibits that bring body literacy into our collective awareness & experience.

What if we're over-funded?(!)

Sound scape of the Human Heart is the first of a series of We Are = Movement MOBL (Museum of Body Literacy) Embodied Anatomy exhibits that we will be staging.  

We're planning a larger, more formal Soundscape of the Human Heart exhibit to be held in the outdoor Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, which is situated between the Academy of Sciences and the De Young Art Museum in San Francisco.

We Are = Movement is a project that engages the public in really surprising ways about body literacy. An astounding abundance of knowledge currently exists about intelligent body movement. We would like to see that reflected in our public discourse & education, as well as in most peoples’ understanding & movements.  As such, our road-map is large!

Find out about our other ongoing projects that support our mission. 

Body 'Truisms' Stickers are one way to incite curiosity about body literacy & our projects.
Body 'Truisms' Stickers are one way to incite curiosity about body literacy & our projects.

Risks and challenges

The great thing about this project is that we won't know what the experience will be like until we're doing it. There's actually very little risk involved. Still, we've anticipated a few challenges that we may face:

1. Disturbance. So that our performers can be fully ensconced in what they're doing, we have 'Minders' who will will be onsite at all of our happenings to answer questions, talk to officials, fix equipment or in case a member of the public gets a little too zealous.

2. Making the soft sound of a heart beat loud enough to have an impact on a busy city street. This is our biggest challenge. Currently the prototypes are projecting a very loud heartbeat & amazing sound technicians are continuing to find new & louder solutions to this puzzle.

3. Weather. Ah, well...as my grandmother used to say "Whatever the weather, we'll weather the weather, together." Fog or shine, baby.

4. We've gathered a great support team whose expertise ranges from sound technology to event planning to bodywork. What we're doing has greater purpose, but ultimately it's fun, and we aim to keep it that way.

Above Renderings by:
Tad Costerison AIA
Senior Associate
Architect
Noll + Tam Architects
tad.costerison@nollandtam.com

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Thank you! You're name will be recognized on our website as an initial supporter.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Thank you! As above, and you'll receive Soundscape of the Heart postcard designed & signed by Katy

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Our hearts are beating faster! All the above & a set of blank Soundscape of the Heart postcards & a sheet of Body Truism Stickers so you can be your own WAM public artist.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    You're making our hearts dance...All the above & a Blue Rubber Stethoscope so you can become well acquainted with your own heartbeat and rhythms.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    What a big heart you have! All of the above, & be your own public vision by wearing our old-school Sports-T-shirt that reads "We have been taught things about the body that are simply not true."

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    With gratitude, all the above & a piece of the exhibit! We've created one-of-a-kind mini-screen prints: printed on organza, matted, framed & signed by Katy.

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Funding period

- (25 days)