Where Stillness Breaks

Where Stillness Breaks is an interactive sculpture that explores memories, associations and speculative connections between felt vibration and words. Vibrotactile motors are strapped to rocks from the local region. A chalk coal drawing on the floor gives a chart with which players and visitors can organize vibrations and words. “You are welcome to take a piece and move it to somewhere else on the chart. If you place it where there is already another word, please strike through that word and add one you think fits better.” Some take the marble to a corner to explore associations in private while others share, discuss and find words through collaboration.

I had been working with vibrotactile motors as an interface for game structures for a while when making Where Stillness Breaks. Through this work I had been composing vibrations that were able to communicate very specific messages that would make it likely for a game to unfold. A colleague suggested that I packaged my messages in metaphors “such as a gentle tapping on the back.” However, I didn’t want to suggest that felt vibration exists outside of culture and cultural references. At the same time, I think that the way both personal and cultural history lives on our skin differ depending on who we are, our position in society and the kinds of experiences this gives us. Which metaphors are shared among wider communities and which are more private is not easy to tell.

Where Stillness Breaks was developed at Obras Residency in Estremoz, Portugal, 2018.

Shown at:
Obras Residency. Estremoz, Portugal, 2018  
Sights and Feeling, Milieux Expo, Curated by Treva Michelle. Montreal, 2018.