Sonic Salon: Skin, Blood, Bone

The body is a liar
Even blood doesn't tell the truth

blood skin bone

Sonic Salon is an immersive installation created through surround sound, video and presence, exploring the physical infiltration of desire. An intimate experience for the solo viewer, the work aims to heighten the senses and sensuality.

The Salon is experienced individually and each viewer can choose between 3 experiences—Skin, Blood or Bone. They are led, by the hostess/creator into the Salon—a dark, yet plush wedge-shaped space adorned with 5 suspended metallic screens— and asked to take their place in the ornate throne. Here they are in the privileged position for the 3-dimensional audio and multi screen visuals. The pieces are inner dialogues made manifest—led by the aural, accompanied by hypnagogic visions. The viewer's senses have been hi-jacked. Are these their own thoughts, or those of another?

The hostess remains in the Salon with the viewer, simply existing in the space with them and carrying out unobtrusive tasks. At the conclusion of the work, the viewer is presented with a small souvenir — a gift that the hostess has hand crafted during the experience — a small token of herself.

The Sonic Salon has grown out of an interest in redefining the hierarchy of the senses within performance and installation. The sound is the starting point yet each element carries it's own weight. The non-performative yet heightened presence of the hostess is an investigation of intimacy, insecurity and honesty in the audience/performer relationship. The elements combine to create a sensorium, one in which the removal of any element leaves a feeling of loss. The Salon dwells between realms of the virtual and the physical, juxtaposing the technologically mediated environment and the very visceral presence of 2 bodies in unavoidable relation to each other and finally made manifest in the handcrafted gift.

Visitation to the Salon is by appointment and lasts 15minutes.

Gail Priest
VIDEO/Projection Design
Samuel James

The Sonic Salon was first presented in July 2003 at Performance Space Sydney.

Audience responses
" Sonic Salon evokes an atmosphere that is erotically charged, in a subtle yet palpable way. The interplay of various elements…create an environment that allows the spectator to get completely immersed in it. The work seems to have a near-physical impact on the spectator." Martin del Amo

"This particular event…was not so much a performance as a (fictional) sharing which has left me feeling a profound intimacy with the sonic and visual materials. " Tony Osborne

"Sonic Salon is pleasantly uncomfortable, oddly of the past (a veiled almost Edwardian ambience suitable for a séance and possession) and of the future (a new media maximisation of the virtual). It’s almost like being someone else.” Keith Gallasch

This project has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and gratefully acknowledges the support of the Performance Space residency program.
Performance Space is assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the NSW Government - Ministry for the Arts

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