Sound Art as Perceptive Performance

16. Mar 2021
In Progress

What happens when listening becomes performative and creative, rather than receptive? And how can this question be explored in a sound art context?

Fueled by these questions, this project explores the idea of the performer-as-listener-as-performer through a series of sound installations and performances. It raises questions about contemporary individual and collective listening practices and looks for points of convergence between perception and creation in performance, with possible implications for performers and sound artists alike.

My impetus for the project stems from working with extremely low volume sound installations. I am attracted to quiet sound, because of the level of concentration and sustained attention that it asks for from the listener. I find this rewarding, because – rather than listening to the sound – I get the sense of listening through the sound; to something beyond my usual perception. The proximity to the sound source means that the minutest of changes make a world of difference. It is this intimacy of listening and the feeling of my physical interaction being the creative act that is intriguing: I’m performing by listening, rather than producing sound in a conventional performative gesture. The act of listening has become an act of creation.

How can this experience be made accessible to an audience? I aim to create an intimate “individuo-collective” sound experience where the distinction between performer and listener becomes less clear-cut than in conventional music performance, since the performer is “curating” a listening experience, rather than making sound.