An Archive of Tingles, the radio programme I produced in partnership with Resonance FM and the Arts and Culture Unit, is now available to listen to on Mixcloud and SoundCloud. In it I explore YouTube’s ‘ASMR’ culture, in which users make and exchange ‘whisper videos’ intended to induce what they call ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’: a mysterious tingling sensation accompanied by a profound sense of calm. Ranging from readings and roleplays to makeup tutorials and videogame playthroughs, and reported to help viewers suffering from stress, insomnia, anxiety or migraine, ASMR videos blur the lines between between therapy, entertainment and artistic expression.
In the show, I collaborate with YouTube ‘ASMRtists’ Whispers Red and Muted Vocal to give a sense of what ASMR videos are all about and investigate their broader historical and cultural context, asking what this idiosyncratic culture says about how we consume media and construct identities online. Both performers have some insightful and thought-provoking things to say about accent, identity, and the web as a platform for community building and creative endeavour. Responses from listeners (some of whom have turned out to be susceptible to ‘the tingles’ themselves) have been fascinating too – definitely a spur to think further about the role of the voice in different forms of online identity work.