126 Prototype Gallery

Haptic Voices 2023

July 14 - September 29
Opening Receptions/Art Crawl: Friday, July 14, FRIDAY, aug 11 & supercrawl

Haptic Voices 

VibraFusion Lab

 The word “haptic” can be defined as a way of experiencing and understanding things through the sense of touch. When you use your hands or fingers to explore objects or surfaces, you use your haptic sense. 

VibraFusionLab pushes the boundaries of haptic technology by creating an art installation that is an interactive hybrid-online venue.  It works by having audio information, such as voice, music, or sound effects transformed into vibrations, allowing visitors to feel the music or sound through their haptic senses. 

They do this through a large scale ten channel vibrotactile wall.  A channel of sound refers to a specific path or route through which audio information (sound) is transmitted.  In this case we have the potential for 10 independent streams of sound signals.


Visitors are invited to stand against the wall to experience vibrations that are controlled by online participants. Online participants will chant, hum, and vocalize into the microphones on their computers as the sound is played through the vibrotactile transducers in the wall in real time. Online participants are able to control the position and location of the vibrations, manipulating through intensity and frequency components of the voice, or through the interface controlled by the participants’ mouse.


In addition, five commissioned sound compositions, designed explicitly for the vibrotactile experience by Toronto composers John Gzowski and Ravi Naimpally, Hamilton composer Edgardo Moreno, and Deaf Irish composer Ailís Ní Ríain and one of the Haptics Voices creators, Jim Ruxton. The online platform facilitating participant interaction was created by Hamilton-based web designer Simon Lebrun.


Using vibration as the final output, Haptic Voices is equally accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing communities to experience the wall. With a camera in the gallery facing the haptic wall, online participants are able to view how they are interacting with participants in the gallery. VibraFusionLab has not previously engaged with an online audience, marking this major installation as the first of its kind, transporting global ‘voices’ into an immersive tactile body experience.

ABOUT THE artists

David Bobier is a hard of hearing and disabled media artist whose creative practice is exploring multi-modal means of art making. His other focus is in developing accessible vibrotactile technology as an artistic and experiential medium that led to the establishment in 2014 of VibraFusionLab, a multi-sensory creative research centre now situated in Hamilton that has an international reputation as a leader in accessibility for the Deaf and Disability Arts movement. 

His exhibition career includes 19 solo and over 30 group exhibitions in Canada and internationally as well as two public art commissions. 

As an artist and through VibraFusionLab, Bobier has received funding from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, SSHRC Canada, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Grand National Centres of Excellence, Farnham Maltings (UK), High Commission of Canada in the UK, Province of Quebec and British Council Canada. 

Bobier served in advisory roles in developing Deaf and Disability Arts Equity programs for both Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, was an invited participant in the Canada Council for the Arts – The Arts in a Digital World Summit and a presenter at the Global Disability Summit in London (UK). 

Jim Ruxton has been working as an artist and engineer in installation, performance, theatre, dance, and film and has collaborated with many other artists throughout his career. His company, Cinematronics, has helped numerous artists realize their technically ambitious projects and provided special effects for numerous films, TV series, commercials, and science museums. 

Jim uses electronics in multiple creative ways, whether it be in creating interactive systems, developing evocative lighting installations or robotic systems. He is the recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, was awarded a Chalmers Fellowship, a Hamilton Arts Award and has been the recipient of numerous arts grants. Jim is also a founder and former Director of Programs for Subtle Technologies, a 20-year-old organization that creates links between artists and scientists with events throughout the year and during its annual festival in Toronto. 

He is a member of the Hamilton based VibraFusionLab. Jim is passionate about bringing people together from different disciplines to facilitate work that extends beyond traditional genres. 

ABOUT THE Composers

Ailís Ní Ríain 

Ailís Ní Ríain is an Irish composer & writer based in rural Lancashire. Her work has been performed across Europe, in Israel, Brazil, USA and Japan and broadcast on BBC and RTÉ. Her artistic interests are diverse she has worked broadly in the areas of concert music, installation, music-theatre and has collaborated with writers, dancers, visual artists, filmmakers and theatre artists.  In 2016 she was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers.

Ailís has hearing impairments and has made work referencing deafness, disability and mental health since 2006 working with DadaFest, Unlimited, Arts & Disability Ireland, Shape Arts, Drake Music and Outside In.

She has been awarded international fellowships, associate artist positions and residences in the USA including Yaddo, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Ragdale Foundation, ArtOMI; Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris and the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy.

Site-specific music-installations include music installations for a lighthouse in Cumbria, a K6 telephone box in Manchester, a dis-used former cotton mill in Lancashire, the Brontë Parsonage in West Yorkshire, a Clitheroe Castle keep and a railway station accumulator tower at Edge Hill, Merseyside.

Her Debut Disc portrait album will be released by NMC Recordings in 2023. Current & recent commissions include new work for the RTE Concert Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Evelyn Glennie and the New London Chamber Ensemble, Con Tempo String Quartet, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Unlimited and the Royal Academy of Music.

As a writer of words for stage, Ailís’ work is published by Nick Hern and Bloomsbury and has been translated into French, German and Swedish and produced in Ireland, UK, New York, Germany and Sweden. Her work in French is represented by L’Arche.

Edgardo Moreno

Edgardo Moreno is a Hamilton based composer that has been commissioned for projects in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Sweden, Argentina, England and USA. He has written scores for films produced by CBC, Bravo, City TV, NFB, OMNI, Ontario Arts Council, History Channel, TVO. He has worked extensively with contemporary dance choreographers creating sound design and musical scores. He is presently working in creating video and live sound pieces that are part of his Fireflyproject. His Film Double Exposure has screened in various film festival across Canada and will be part of exhibitions in Ontario in the coming months. www.musicamoreno.com www.fireflyproject.ca

John Gzowski 

Composer, sound designer, musician, and instrument maker, John Gzowski has worked on over 300 theatre, dance and film productions for which he has done composition, sound design, live foley, live music, and as musical director. He has played banjo for opera in Banff, studied Carnatic classical music in India, and played oud and guitar in jazz and folk festivals across Canada and Europe.

His theatre work has won him six Dora Awards, from 18 nominations for companies like Stratford, Shaw Festival, Luminato, National Arts Centre, Mirvish Productions, Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Arts Club, Canadian Stage, Soulpepper, Dancemakers, Red Sky, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre and Young People’s Theatre. 

John has played on numerous CDs including recent releases with Patricia O’Callghan, Tasa, and Autorickshaw, as well receiving a Juno nomination with Maza Meze. John ran Canada’s first microtonal group touring Canada playing the works of Harry Partch; he has composed and performed with several new music groups; and he has worked as co-artistic director of the Music Gallery.

Ravi Naimpally

Born in India and raised in Canada, Ravi Naimpally developed a facination for the tabla at a young age. Ravi spent his several years in Mumbai, doing rigorous training under his uncle Pandit Nikhil Ghosh. He has also been fortunate to receive further training from the legendary Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Sadanand Naimpalli and Sushil Kumar Jain. Ravi has been a vital contributor to the Canadian world music scene for nearly 30 years. Over the course of his career, Ravi has collaborated with a wide variety of artists and performed with many genres of music including traditional Hindustani music, jazz, folk, rock and world. For 12 years Ravi led his Indo-jazz group Tasa through several international tours and recordings that earned them an Urban Music Award. In 2011 Ravi received the Grant’s Desi Achievers Award for his contribution to the South Asian community in Canada. Ravi has performed with the Miles Davis Electric Band and tours internationally with Persian/Electronic band Niyaz. As a composer and performer, he contributes to So Long Seven and Near East, two of Canada’s leading world music ensembles. Ravi is on the faculty of music at Humber College and York University.

This exhibition is generously supported by 


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