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Somatic Symphony


Elinor Merkier

Design and Technology track

Mentor — 

Mark Shovman

How might we hear our bodies dance through touch connectivity?

In contact improvisation, being attuned to synchronicity of nuances and emotional frequencies, directions and sensations of fellow dancers highlights a sense of connectedness, community, and openness. I what way do we synchronise with each other through breath, peripheral vision, or other? How might we enhance these nuances through sonification? How might hearing these nuances affect our movement patterns? And what additional empathic layers can we uncover?  


Somatic Symphony is an interaction event that explores improvisation and composition of music through contact improvisation, so that a group of two or more dancers interact, touch, and shift gestures to create musical tones as a reflection of bodily sensations and emotional expression, bringing to light a shared state of being and explorative pathway of movement styles. 


Kyongsik Yun et al (2012) observed that increasing the synchronisation of body movement through interpersonal interaction, indicates implied social activity as seen in corresponding brain regions. Building upon this research, I conducted an observation of the interaction between two dancers, that noted several movements of somatic synchronicity. I developed a body suit configured with a network of wearable pressure touch sensors and a heart-rate monitor, to produce real-time audible corresponding sound and effects, according to strength of touch, position and layered repetition of actions. I intend to create an intuitive and personal language that can be used and communicated through each of us.  


I was inspired by projects in New Interfaces for Musical Expression conferences.  

This project’s goal is integrating a possibility to “listen to our bodies interacting” to enable more modes of communication through the joy of dance and music, via multimodal sensory experiences and biophysical music.

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Elinor Merkier

Elinor Merkier (b. 1994) is an interdisciplinary designer. She has an M.Eng in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London, and is a graduate student in M.Des program in Industrial Design from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Works with sound, movement, bio-sensors, and physical computing, adopting music and movement theory using Arduino, touch designer and VR platforms. In her work she focuses on multi sensory interactive experience, interpersonal empathy, musical expression and somatic interaction design.

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