Anouk Wipprecht’s Sonifica, Reshaping the Future of Performing Arts

A designer, an artist, two architects and a prosthetics company have partnered up to create a sci-fi wearable that could reshape the future of performing arts.

Muchaneta Kapfunde
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Anouk Wipprecht‘s Sonifica is a stunning wearable. The compelling design has been designed for artist Viktoria Modesta, famous for using using her prosthetic leg as a functioning form of art. Called Sonifica, full name Sonification, it brings together art, technology and architecture.

Wearables

Partnering up with architects Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg from Miami-based Monad Studio and prosthetics innovator LIM Innovations, Wipprecht and Modesta have turned the body into an instrument with their creation of a 3D printed interactive sonic, a sonic bustier and sonified prosthetic leg. According to iq.intel.com, the 3D-printed sonic bustier has long, protruding tusks equipped with sensors and actuators that allow Modesta to modulate the sound of her live performances. Both wearables use open-source hardware and software, embedded with a compute module that recognizes gestures, and a six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope to track movement.

Sonifica Project Personified

The uniquely shaped art turns Viktoria Modesta’s body into an instrument. “It allows her to become the instrument and interact spatially and sonically with her environment,” Wipprecht explained. On how the “provocative and playful” sci-fi wearable technology came about, the robotic spider dress designer adds, “I am known for programming and design, but I haven’t experimented with music too much. The collaboration with Viktoria was a weird hybrid for me of prototyping, design and learning on the way about how to engage sound. It opened up ideas on how you can compose and influence these vibrations.”

Sonifica
The Sonifica team worked on the tusk bodice over several months.

Well versed in robotics, coding, body signal processing, 3D printing and machine learning, Wipprecht (and Monad Studio’s Goldemberg) worked on the tusk bodice over several months. Working with sound for the first time, the fashion tech designer, who has previously collaborated with Intel, described the ongoing experiment as “primal and instinctive”. On how the Sonifica bustier cleverly merged technology, art and music, Goldemberg said, “With this project, we bring out a raw primitivism, a fundamental energy that has the capacity to move people, and heal and nurture new possible forms of art where sound, vision, touch, space, fashion, architecture, couture and sculpture are fused.”

“Instead of looking at an augmented prosthetic as a medical device, I could experiment how to adorn the body through functional technology”

On the device’s wearable’s transformational powers, Wipprecht told On The Inside magazine “Instead of looking at an augmented prosthetic as a medical device, I could experiment how to adorn the body through functional technology and fashion as an art form, and how these objects not only can be worn as a second skin, but the systematic role they would play in pop culture.” She continues, “The shape of the tusks that we created compels you to touch or grab them. It’s very physical. Translating physical touch from there in an even more primal way through the extension of sound in space mutates the performance in an interesting hybrid between analog and digital.” On the tusks Modesta adds, “The tusks create a different silhouette. It gives you a more animalistic skeleton, but also has almost a sexual addition to the body.”

With plans  to open-source the code and design, the Sonifica team is inviting you, the audience, to engage in the project. “Instead of creating a show to be consumed, we are creating a show collaboratively, creating a new sense of intimacy and participation with an audience,” said Wipprecht. On her overall experience with Sonifica Modesta confessed, “Fusing with an artificial extension to my body has given me a different kind of power to my performance art.”

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