Brandon LaBelle

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The Sonic Body

Dance comes to recompose music by pulling the beat, the melody, and the drive of sonic force into the body to playback in excited gesture and movement. Extending the rapture at the heart of dancing, the Sonic Body is a collection of the audible traces of dancing bodies. The movements of individuals are recorded to form acoustic identities, highlighting dance as a form of translation: a sort of heated musicology found in the step. The Sonic Body is a work that aims for a total embodying of sound, as a process of ingestion, intake, a listening hunger, and finally, embodied reaction, an energetic vitality that propels the body outside itself and into the making of a sensual micro-event.


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Installation at Pieter gallery, Los Angeles
September 2010


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A related workshop was held as part of Tanz im August festival, Berlin, 2009. The workshop is based on collecting the audible traces of dancing bodies. Working with a group of artists, musicians and dancers, the workshop explores different approaches towards captuing the sounds of movement: placing a series of eight microphones in the space, and working with wireless headphones, the participants are able to hear themselves, as a movement and as an choreography in the space. The workshop allows participants to configure their own sonic choreographies.

with
Gerald Michel
Natalie Hofmann
Anna Posch
Isis Martin
Lorenz Rollhäuser
David Günther
Miriam Jakob
Billy Mark
Catarina Trota
Corinna Spieth
Teresa Mayer
Leo Nabuco


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The Sonic Body project originally developed in collaboration with Deutschland Radio, as a live silent disco held at the Maria am Ostbahnof club, Berlin. The music will not be broadcast usurps the collective pleasures found on the dance floor as the beginning for an enlarged acoustical event where the comforting euphoria of collective mingling is contrasted with the embedded dangers dancing might come to represent. Presented through wireless headphones, an original electronic composition mixing experimental beats, musical samples and found sounds is played, activating the rhythmical flow of movement as an occupation and contouring of the space. Complementing and intersecting with the headphone work, live amplifications of the event are incorporated back into the composition: locating microphones along the floor and throughout the space, the movements and interactions of the crowd are captured and amplified through a sound system located in the space to generate an additional sonic layer, allowing visitors to hear the sounds of their own dancing and interactions. In this way, a number of elements are put into play weaving together electronic music and the generative experience of dancing with material traces and architectural accents. The dance floor is underscored as a space of fragmentation and immersion while also representing the potential for disruption and excess.

In collaboration with BJ Nilsen.

Maria am Ostbahnof club, Berlin
January, 2009