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Bio-rhythm: Integrating Music and the Body

By Crystal Tang, photos by Science Centre Singapore

Have you ever wondered why humans as a species have music? Why random passages of sound provoke a giddy bout of toe tapping? Ever wondered how a powerful piece of music can instantly tap into a pool of scattered emotions?

You might uncover startling solutions to some of these perplexing mysteries at the ‘Bio-rhythm: Music and the Body’ exhibition being held at Science Centre Singapore (SCS) from 16th June to 14th August this year.

The Exhibits

With 13 highly interactive installations, the exhibition flaunts the world’s largest collection of sound-engineered devices that actually respond to human physiological reactions.

The Sonic Bed and Sonic Chair could almost be mistaken for massage equipment. These pieces allow the visitors to experience transmitted sound through sub woofers or voltage-controlled oscillators that one may manipulate. If you lie down on the Sonic Bed, you can actually feel music coursing through different sections of your body!

Sonic Bed (left) and Sonic Chair (right)

Another innovative piece is the ‘Reactable’ exhibit that uses coded acrylic pieces to detect sensors from a uniquely designed table. The pieces and sensors work together to create every imaginable sound you could think of. Loop different melodies, tweak string harmonies, make drum beats and orchestrate complicated piano riffs in a matter of seconds with the Reactable. Recognizing the Reactable’s immense potential, award winning Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork used it to compose her ‘Medulla’ album. However, this shouldn’t intimidate people with no musical background whatsoever- within minutes, the Science Center’s trained staff will help you master the nuances of strategically placing biscuit-sized acrylic pieces on glowing touch-sensitive tables.

Ultra-Sensitive Reactable Exhibit

Emotion in Motion

At the heart of the exhibit room is Biorhythm’s biggest creative pursuit- the ‘Emotion in Motion project’. Developed around two years ago, this project was showcased in Biorhythm’s first exhibition at Trinity College, Dublin, as well as Biorhythm’s New York exhibition. The interactive experiment has had over fifteen thousand participants. Contributors attach diodes to their hands and listen to three randomly selected songs out of a database containing millions, ranging from classic rock to jazz to Irish folk. Physical responses are recorded alongside participant’s opinions on how they felt after listening to each song.

Biorhythm's Emotion in Motion Experiment

Biorhythm hopes to predict how physical reactions are influenced by emotional responses to music. Dr Michael John Gorman, Director of Science Gallery (Ireland), where the exhibition originated, hopes to better understand how different cultures react to musical pieces. He believes that by conducting this experiment in Singapore, a melting pot for Asian culture, people will gain some deep insights into how Asians immerse themselves into certain forms of music they can relate to. Dr Gorman dreams of broadening music’s horizons world over with Biorhythm and by participating in the exhibition, we can all be a part of this global dream!

Bio-Rhythm: Music and the Body will be exhibiting from 16th June to 14th August at Singapore Science Center. Tickets priced at $8 per entrance and $11 with admission to Singapore Science Centre. For more details, visit http://biorhythm.sg