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Arnolfini announce major new commission funded by the Wellcome Trust
5Hz involves a one-year participatory research process by collaborators artist Emma Smith, psychologist and phonetician Laurence White, cognitive neuroscientist and psycholinguist Nina Kazanina and musicologist Emma Hornby.

BRISTOL.- Arnolfini have been successful in securing an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust for a major new commission by British artist Emma Smith in 2014/2015. The project, 5Hz, imagines an evolution of voice for the purpose of social bonding, based on bio-medical research into vocal rhythm, culminating with an installation in Arnolfini exhibition spaces in February 2015.

5Hz involves a one-year participatory research process by collaborators artist Emma Smith, psychologist and phonetician Laurence White, cognitive neuroscientist and psycholinguist Nina Kazanina and musicologist Emma Hornby. The project explores the power of the voice to connect us to one another. In the recent history of human evolution the voice has primarily been used for spoken language. 5Hz will evolve a new means of communication that imagines how we might sound had we prioritised human connection over the communication of explicit information in our development. A possibility suggested by some current research is that the voice originally evolved for the purpose of song.

The public and school groups will be invited to join in a series of open, public events and experiments throughout 2014, including live brain recordings while listening to choral performances, language evolution laboratories, and talks and workshops by eminent scientists – phoneticians, psychologists, neuroscientists – and musicologists. These events will all contribute to the development of the artwork and final interactive installation.

5Hz builds on Emma Smith’s collaborative, performance work ΔE=W (Change in Energy = the Work), presented at Arnolfini as part of 4 Days, a performance art series, 17–20 January 2013.

5Hz is produced by Arnolfini in collaboration with the University of Bristol, Plymouth University and with the support of the Wellcome Trust. Further details of the public programme will be announced in January 2013.

Emma Smith is an artist based in London, UK. She has a performative and participatory art practice that is research and production based, developed through the bringing together of trans-disciplinary collaborative teams. Previous exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre (2006), Whitechapel Gallery (2007 & 2008), Wysing Arts Centre (2010, 2011 & 2012), Grizedale Arts (2010-12), Artsadmin (2011 & 2012), The Showroom (2011), Tate Modern and Tate Tanks (2011 & 2012), and Radar (2013) UK, with international projects in Australia, Canada, the Canadian Arctic, China, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Mauritius and Spain.

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