David Bobier is a self-identified hard of hearing media artist with a mental health diagnosis and is the parent of 2 deaf children. His work has been exhibited internationally and has been the focus of prominent touring exhibitions in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. Bobier has received grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Grand NCE, Ontario Arts Council and New Brunswick Arts Council.
He is currently partnering with Inclusive Media and Design Centre at Ryerson University, Toronto and Tactile Audio Displays Inc. in researching and employing vibrotactile technology as a creative medium. As an extension of this research Bobier has established and is Director of VibraFusionLab in London, Ontario, Canada. The Lab emphasizes a holistic approach to considering vibration as a language of creation and exploration and to investigating broader and more inclusive applications of the sensory interpretation and emotionality of sound and vibration in art making practices. Through VibraFusionLab and in his own art practice Bobier aims at creating opportunities of greater accessibility in art making, art appreciation and in viewer experiences of art practices and presentations.
Using performance and interactive installation Bobier explores the bridging of methods of communication and language and ways of interpreting or transforming one modality to another. His work is engaged in a multi-sensory approach and experimentation that allows for the transitioning and re-interpreting of content and experience from one medium to another with particular emphasis on the tactile as a form of creative expression.
A ‘faux’ projection/sound instrument is mounted on an antique school desk. A score in braille transcript is transformed into modes of vibration and visualization through a music box, ‘punchable’ music score strips, LED lights and magnifiers. The use of codified languages, the bridging of technological devices and the emphasis on the multi-sensory becomes the framework for how the work engages with the audience in a more inclusive way. In exploring the transformation of language and communication from one modality to another the intention is to prompt the reconsideration of all the senses as channels of communication and exchange.
The use of antique school desks is to draw attention to the controversial histories of exclusionary and abusive societal and education practices for the deaf and disabled populations. The viewer is invited to sit in the chairs, activate the music boxes and experience the sound through the auditory, visual and tactile. The braille script that makes up the sound score is also presented in its actual ‘readable’ form on paper transcripts mounted on the wall as integral to the installation. Typically, these scripts offer statistical information about the blind, the deaf and disability cultures and communities.