Wednesday 23 August 2017

Pluck up courage to give this body art a try

Michelle Buckley, who works at the Science Gallery, tries out My Hairy Banjo by Joan Healy
Michelle Buckley, who works at the Science Gallery, tries out My Hairy Banjo by Joan Healy
My Hairy Banjo by Joan Healy

Michael McHale

SUSPENDED upside down in a dark room, Irish artist Joan Healy (28) yesterday invited science enthusiasts to take part in a hair-raising experience.

With her long hair and feet protruding through a thin wall, her toes grabbed hold of a few strands of the flowing locks and pulled them tight to create a unique stringed instrument.

"It's grand, but sometimes the hair pulls on my toes a bit when people are plucking away. That's why I have some padding between my toes," Ms Healy, from Kimmage in Dublin, said about the experience.

Her experiment is all part of a new exhibition aimed at exploring the interaction of body and sound.

"The exhibition is about how the human body responds to music," exhibitions manager Rob Warren said.

"It brings us into the questions about why we react to music, like, for example, why we tap our feet instinctively to a beat."

Called 'Biorhythm', it is open to the public from today for the next three months in Trinity College's Science Gallery in Pearse Street in Dublin. But Joan won't be hanging around for long -- the public only has today to try out her 'My Hairy Banjo' exhibit at the gallery.

But there are plenty of other surprise sound exhibits for visitors to get their hands on. Among them is the Sonic Bed, which invites people to lie down and be surrounded by speakers playing frequencies that interact with the body.

Meanwhile, Japanese artist Yoshio Akai has created a number of instruments that react to regular everyday objects, like the Lego Sequencer, which changes frequencies as more of the toy bricks are placed on an electric base; and the credit card scratcher, which allows you to sound like a DJ scratching records, without any vinyl.

More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the free summer display before it closes on October 1.

The exhibition will be open between 12pm and 8pm from Tuesday to Friday, and between 12pm and 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Irish Independent

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