Krista Sheneman, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Collaborators: Adam Schmidt, PAT graduate student – sound engineer; Bruce Tharp, Stamps faculty – design consultant; Anne Mondro, Stamps faculty – fine artist; Carly Lowe, Stamps Woodshop Studio Technician – master woodworker

Resonance/Repose is an interdisciplinary functional piece of art that uses design, sound, and physics to allow for viewer participation while resting and waiting within the gallery. This pair of benches will be placed in front of a new performance installation that will create the sound used in the benches.

This work will be available for the public to interact with at Stamps Gallery during the upcoming MFA thesis show. This project addresses the endless cycle of labor and care that go into having and making a home.

Allowing the participants to feel the sound recording (from my labor performance) resonate through their body while looking at the results of this labor (performance documentation) will reactivate the prior performance and allow for an embodied experience within the gallery.

Resonance/Repose is a pair of identical benches made from wood. They will be 18’’ tall, 57’’ long, and 26’’ wide. Each will have a hinged lid allowing for four speakers with two on either end. Each set of speakers plays sound collected from a past performance. These benches will be placed in front of the installation.

I anticipate these benches will take three months to complete and are segmented into four stages. During the initial step, I will be in discussion with design faculty Bruce Tharp to refine the bench design. I have been researching the history of how benches have functioned within our society as well as how they function within the walls of a gallery. Historically, galleries have little places that allow people to rest and I aim to change that cannon within my own work.

Next, I will consult with master carpenter Carly Lowe on materials and skills needed to complete the benches. Having access to the expansive knowledge Carly brings to the table will permit me to choose the materials that fit as well as new techniques. This will allow me to build on my previous knowledge of woodworking.

Within a multitude of cultures, humans have used vibrations and sound to heal and recharge their minds and bodies. Vibration and resonance are an integral part of the function of these benches. Within the meditation community, Tibetan Bowls of the Bön Po have been used for thousands of years to achieve spiritual clarity. It is also known within the scientific community that vibration and sound matter in the healing process. By harmonizing cellular function, biological systems are allowed the energy to work with more homeostasis.

Once sound became part of this, I reached out to PAT graduate student Adam Schmidt. I knew Adam was the perfect fit for my project because of his vast knowledge of music and sound engineering with a special focus on robotics and coding. Adam has agreed to construct wireless microphones allowing me to collect the desired sound. He will also be teaching me how to edit the raw sound so it will resonate through the body.

According to my preliminary research, the human whole-body fundamental resonant frequency is between 5 and 10 Hz. With all manufacturing completed, I will move to the final step of space and place. For this, I will need faculty member and artist, Anne Mondro. Anne brings more than two decades of experience situating objects that relate to the human body within the gallery walls.

My aim is to provide a space that allows guests in the gallery to feel like they are able to rest their body within a space that has historically been cumbersome to operate a body. The intimacy of these benches will also allow for a private experience within the gallery. Resonance/Repose is a pivotal part of my upcoming thesis work and builds on my current research addressing the integral part home plays within our lives and past.