ASMR is a relaxing sensation experienced in the real world and often through one-on-one interactions.
One of the greatest curiosities is that ASMR can also be strongly stimulated by watching videos of ASMR triggering behaviors and sounds recorded by talented ASMR artists.
One of those talented artists includes Emma Smith, the popular online ASMR artist known as WhispersRed.
And now Emma has brought the ASMR experience full circle by transitioning ASMR from a real world, individual-based experience to an online, global-based experience and then back to the real world as a live, audience-based experience.
On February 6th and 7th 2016, Emma performed 30 minute sessions of live, in-person, ASMR to audiences at the Changing Minds Festival in Southbank Centre, London, UK.
In my interview with Emma she shared how this opportunity developed, the potential historical aspect of this experience, how it was different from creating recorded ASMR content, and her plans for future live ASMR sessions.
Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and links to a recording of one of the live sessions, her channel, her website, and her Facebook page.
What is the Changing Minds Festival?
Emma, “The Changing Minds Festival is an event based around Mental Health and the Arts. There were provoking performances from many artists plus demonstrations of mind resting techniques including Tai Chi which I found wonderfully soothing to watch. Many mental health organisations were present and there was even a group singing session focusing on self expression.
It was held at the Southbank Centre on the River Thames. A huge set of buildings which houses the famous Royal Festival Halls, it’s a very prestigious venue with a warming community feel.
It really is the centre piece for the whole Southbank area which is a very busy tourist spot. A must see if you ever visit London!”
How did this opportunity arise?
Emma, “I was approached by Thomas Grogan. An artist currently studying for his MA at the Royal College of Art. The College was given the opportunity for some students to use the event as part of their course.
Thomas had recently discovered ASMR on YouTube and was interested in the therapeutic aspect of sound. He wanted to do something worthwhile with his opportunity at the Southbank centre so contacted me to see if we could work together somehow.
His original idea was to be more of an exhibit of ASMR sounds but after meeting together it developed into a full on ASMR session with audience. I think once we realised we were both on the same page it was an easy process.”
Have you, or anyone else, done a live, in-person, audience-based ASMR session before?
Emma, “As far as I know there has not been anything of it’s kind done by an ASMR content creator. An ASMR session/video done face to face in front of the audience as opposed to through the screen.
However I’m pretty sure that if we looked hard enough we could find an artist/performer/therapist who have soothed or relaxed their audience via the use of voice and sound. I don’t believe it’s a new concept as sound healing in many forms has been around since the beginning of time.”
How was it different for you than a recorded session?
Emma, “Once I settled into the session it was surprisingly similar for me. Even though we were faced with many obstacles both technically and with the environment.
When I film a video the camera becomes the essence of the person or people I am talking to in a way. So actually seeing faces in front of me was at first strange but it became a lovely experience.
The audience were all wearing headphones which helped me to feel connected. We were in a very small space/world together. Some closed their eyes and others kept them open, it was a nicely relaxed experience.
I think the main difference is that you can’t rely on editing it before anyone sees it! That’s comforting for me as I never worry about making a mistake, it can be erased in editing. However during a live session there aren’t really any mistakes. It is what it is and whatever happens is right for the moment.”
What feedback have you received about it?
Emma, “Right after the session we had a Q&A. We weren’t able to record it for the YouTube video due to the lack of microphones for the audience.
I also didn’t want to ask anyone to talk on camera. It didn’t feel right to apply any pressure, I was just so grateful that people actually took the time to come along.
It was a relaxed chat where we talked about YouTube videos, what it’s like to be in front of the ‘audience’ etc.. I didn’t ask anyone if they got tingles as it wasn’t my aim to make them happen.
The feedback was excellent though. Words used were ‘amazing’, ‘so relaxing’. The sounds were appreciated too. There was wonderful feedback on the video too which was really encouraging to read.”
Any plans for more live sessions in the near future?
Emma, “Absolutely! It’s something I have wanted to explore ever since I started making videos. Not to guarantee a tingly experience but to actually meet the community face to face and bring everyone together. An extension to the videos if you like.
Community events are really important. They are an energetic and bonding experience for everyone to enjoy. They bring like-minded people together and are something exciting to look forward to.
This first session has taught me a few technical things as well as cemented other ideas I have had. The next one will be fabulous and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition.”
Click HERE to watch a recording of one of Emma’s live ASMR sessions.
Click HERE to visit Emma’s YouTube channel.
Click HERE to visit Emma’s Website.
Click HERE to visit Emma’s Facebook Page.
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This post brought to you by ASMR University. A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.