Ibuki, by Masaru Tabei and Yasuno Miyauchi, is a sound installation that allows visitors to hear the sound of a silent inanimate object through bone conduction, thereby encouraging the visitors to rethink meanings of everyday objects which they normally don’t pay attantion to.
Ibuki is a Japanese word for lively breath/sign of presence. Things exist and they change. If changes are caused by physical activities, we could possibly hear the sound of such activities from anything that exists in the world. While you are still wondering whether this is true, you may already be putting your chin on top of a large egg-shaped object.
Thanks to the bone-conduction technology, your jawbone is part of the communication channel allowing the object to “tell” you something. Bone-conduction technology has long been used in hearing aids and other products for the hearing impaired, as well as in military headsets. Recently, several commercial companies have been developing products aimed at the general public, using this technology. For example, a cell phone handset that lets users listen by pressing it against their jaws is for sale in Japan; and, a while ago, NTT DoCoMo showed Yubiwa, a ring-shaped mobile phone handset that uses the user’s finger to transmit sound into her ear .
Is Ibuki suggesting a new communication modality in the 21st century, when technologies increasingly blur the boundaries between physical objects and digital communication media? (Not sure how I can silently say things through my bones though. )
“Ibuki — Presence in a Sigh–” was shown at Intercollage Computer Music Concert 2005 that took place in Gifu around the end of last year.