Tricosmic was a research and performance project that took place in 2014 with the Wits music and resulted in a ‘silent’ performance at the Planetarium in Johannesburg.

The questions posed wondered what it would be like to be to sit next to someone at a concert, to have your ears completely uncovered, hear them breath and move next to you, yet only hear music inside your head trough a ‘third ear’?

How would you know if this experience was shared? How could you know they were hearing the same things as you did? And with the band only meters away, also playing silently, how could you know that what you were hearing was what they were actually playing?

These tensions made for some enjoyable explorations, some innovative technological solutions and some fun music: 40 hand-built bone conduction headphones were made from repurposed headlight torches and speaker parts with each attendee having their own private speaker system. The band played silent instruments, and singers were given acoustically sealed masks to sing into.

To add one more layer of fun, the musicians had to play music, a score that followed projected bouncing balls on the roof of the planetarium. To add to the complexity of interaction between audience and performers the same audience members could control the number and behaviour of these balls via 40 remote controls

Photos by Christo Doherty