MIT exhibits let the body hum in a vocal meditation

Hum, and sound buzzes through your lips. Sing, and it vibrates through your head and body.

Sing at “Vocal Vibrations,” the musical installation and inaugural exhibit at Le Laboratoire Cambridge, a new art and design center, and those vibrations will thrum through a round device you hold in your hands, called an oRb. More than that, as you vary your tone, your pitch, and your timbre, those vibrations will alter, skitter, and slide up and down the oRb, just as they do in your own body.

“Vocal Vibrations” showcases works by composer and inventor Tod Machover and designer and architect Neri Oxman, professors at the MIT Media Lab. In this musical installation, you can sit in an area called the Chapel, and listen to a vocal composition by Machover piped through 10 speakers. It sounds like contemporary sacred music, layered and haunting. Guides in the installation will encourage you to put headphones on and sing — nothing fancy, just a note, and quietly to yourself, if you like.

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