Dancing to the sounds of Twitter: An experimental art performance to highlight mental health

A visual artist, a coder, a sound engineer, and a mental health expert collaborate for an intriguing live event called ‘Together With Touch’

There are a few things unusual – hence, intriguing – about ‘Together With Touch’, a live art performance focusing on mental health. Firstly, the nature of the event itself. It involves contemporary dance, sounds generated through a live Twitter feed, and an audience that can shape this sound.

The collaborators for this event in Bengaluru include a mental health expert, a coder, a sound artist, and a visual artist.

The venue of this event is not in some intimate, silent artsy space but a mall. Though the event primarily deals with mental health, there is also a subtext of social media, technology, consumerism, global connection, among other things.

It is all… a little abstract, isn’t it?

“Yes, it is supposed to be,” laughs visual artist Lena Heubusch on a call from Germany. Lena put together this event. She was supposed to come to India as a part of bangaloREsidency, an artists exchange program. But the pandemic proved to be an obstacle. Sometime later when she had the opportunity to be a part of the Virtual Artistic Exchange 2021 – facilitated by Max Mueeler Bhavan Bangalore’s long-standing partner and bangaloREsidency host Walkin Studios – Lena came up with this idea.

“The word ‘contact’ became very important in the last two years due to the pandemic. Our physical contact was restricted but we contacted each other digitally,” she says. Upon reflection, she came up with these questions: How is contact perceived when organisms touch through means of modern technology? How can we experience a sense of being a body in the digital realm?

These questions led to the creation of ‘Together With Touch’.

For this project, Lena put together three Indian artists – sound artist Nikhil Nagaraj, creative coder Gaurav Singh, and movement artist Avril Stormy Unger, who is also a mental health expert.

Gaurav and Nikhil contributed with an algorithm that created sounds for Twitter conversations related to mental health. On the day of the event, there will be a live Twitter feed that generates a sound to which Avril will respond with movements or even stillness.

The spectators at the mall will not be passive observers. They can send tweets which will alter the sounds and in turn, Avril’s movements, thus bridging the digital and physical worlds.

The show is happening at Vega City Mall on December 18, 4 pm and 6.30 pm and publicdomain.garden online

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