"... this is why images are made, so that humankind should find its own heart." - Medieval collection of sermons, 13th century
Whale is a sensory based, interactive, multichannel sound installation strongly rooted in humanity. It is an environment where one experiences oneself; the experience is heavily influenced by the user’s own psychology. I wanted to make a piece that would hopefully inspire others to look within to find their own inner selves.
In complete darkness, the user lays on a subsonic vibrating bed, experiencing waves of vibration through the body. When speaking into the microphone, the user’s voice triggers different whale sounds. Sound is a material in the context of sculpture. In using techniques to sculpt and spatialize sound, it creates a sonic sound field, where one feels “enveloped” and “immersed”. The microphone intakes the amplitude of the user's voice, divides it into several thresholds and in turn triggers different whale sounds.
I had interviewed many about how they had felt amongst the Whale installation; everyone had a very different experience, ranging from meditative, peaceful / happy, warm / comforting to unsettling, isolating, intimidating, powerful and otherworldly, amongst many other. Each of these descriptions is highly personal, and reflect much on each user and their psyche.
My work is heavily influenced by Louise Bourgeois, who made a 30x33 feet spider as a metaphor for her mother, titled “Maman.” Using the scientific properties of whales, I am making a direct and metaphoric correlation between the physical mass and strength, longevity and complexity of their songs and the ocean, their natural habitat, to my deeper self and inner strength.
In no way am I a perfect person; in fact, growing up I was often told how imperfect I was. The psychological impact has been a great source of tension, pain, suppression but also molded an innate drive to always try to better myself as a person. Ultimately, it is not my materialistic achievements that shape me to be the person that I am; it is the hard work that I’ve done on myself, both psychologically and physically, that enables my inner self to physically manifest in my art.
It is through the empowerment of self awareness that the capacity to push oneself to the highest potential begins.