5Hz Labs: Imagining an alternative evolution of voice for social bonding

8 Nov 2014 – 29 Nov 2014

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

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England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Most city centre bus services stop within walking distance of Arnolfini. The nearest stops are at The Centre and Queen Square.
  • Arnolfini is a 15 minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads railway station. A taxi rank can be found outside the station.
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This November, Arnolfini presents 5Hz - a series of live ‘laboratories’ in collaboration with artist Emma Smith that will explore the power of the voice to connect us to one another.


5Hz Labs: Vocalise to Socialise - Saturday 08 November to Sunday 09 November

5Hz Labs: Beyond the Word - Sunday 16 November

5Hz Labs: Speech Rhythms, Brain Rhythms - Saturday 22 November

5Hz Labs: The Persuasive Power of Voice - Saturday 29 November


5Hz is based on biomedical research into the rhythmic quality of the voice and how it affects our social interactions. Based on the assumption that the voice probably evolved for the purpose of song rather than speech, 5Hz asks how language might have evolved if humanity had prioritised social bonding as opposed to the communication of explicit information.

Following on from a series of workshop experiments that took place in the spring and summer of 2014, these open laboratories invite the public to participate in language evolution workshops, talks and demonstrations by eminent scientists that explore the human voice’s potential as a tool for social bonding.

During these sessions participants will assist Emma Smith in inventing a new language based on their own neurological responses and live EEG brain mapping technologies.

Building on the work initiated earlier in the year, Emma Smith will develop this project in collaboration with Cognitive Neuroscientist Nina Kazanina, Psycholinguist and Phonetician Laurence White and Musicologist Emma Hornby.

Each session will begin with a Language Evolution Workshop from 11am - 12.30pm. The workshops will concentrate on developing a new language based on social bonding.

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