Can Your Toes Hear?

I have recently visited the Sonic Bed_London exhibition at the RichMix in East London.

At first I was surprised. What I was looking at resembled a giant wooden speaker laid on the back with mounted mattresses and cushions on it. Next to the wooden stairs that lead into the box was a decoratively written label saying "Please remove your shoes."

The sound was warm, calm and soothing. You could literally feel the sonic waves syncing with your brain waves lulling you to sleep. Of course, since the context of the bed was an exhibition, simulating a "real sleeping experience" was impossible. But yet the effect was quite impressive.

Treating the whole body with sound allows you to experience a completely new way of encountering sound. While sound is mostly associated with hearing, here it's more a sort of a "feeling". Particularly the different sound sources aiming at different parts of your body enrich the acoustic experience with additional dimensions. After this, every sound you hear from your headphones will sound flat and 1-dimensional.

Stimulating senses other than just the hearing sense with sound allows you to enter a world of meditation. And this is, I think, what the bed is good for. It's a device that helps you entering a different mental stage, change your perception and hypnotize you. It's not a device that just allows you to sleep.

As the name "Sonic Bed_London" suggests, there are more Sonic Beds in different cities. In fact there is a Sonic Bed_Shanghai with the cliche China silk bedding and Sonic Bed_Taipei (interestingly without China silk).

All in all, I find this project more of an exciting "experiment" or an "experience" rather than a commercial product with market potential. Even though the adventure is quite unique, I doubt, people would like to have something like this in their bedrooms and go to sleep with it. It will never break out of the exhibition fun-fair roller-coaster ride context. After all, the exhibition closes at 19:00 hrs.

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