Concordia University

http://www.concordia.ca/content/concordia/en/finearts/research/labs/acts-of-listening/research-creation.html

RESEARCH-CREATION

At the lab, performance creation is situated within a scholarly research process. We explore an oral history performance event from the listener’s perspective. Listening at the lab typically happens in the context of small, focussed group dynamics. In that sense, the research-creation projects at the lab aim to develop methods and instruments for enabling these small groups of listeners to report and reflect on their listening processes, together with those who narrate what is being listened to. 

Not Being Able to Speak is a Torture (2017 - )


An interactive sound installation and research-creation project undertaken in collaboration with a family of Colombian refugees in Canada, Dr. Luis C. Sotelo Castro, and sound artist Barry Prophet.

During Not Being Able to Speak is a Torture, listener-participants in groups of 9 - 12 are invited to move through three stages together. The first one is meant to form the groups and build trust. In the second stage, the groups are invited to be still and silent inside a small maze-like structure that echoes the original place in which the family, and some other people, had to hide as the guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was looking for them in 2002. Participants listen to a 30-minutes ‘treated’ version of selected fragments of the mother and her oldest daughter’s testimonies while in the space. Finally, in the third stage, the groups participate in a debriefing session. 

 

Some listeners’ feedback (data):

 

It was good not being alone, but at the same time, the deeper I listened to the stories, the more I wanted to be alone, so it was like this very contradictory thing, I mean at least it was good that there were other bodies there, the stories were hurtful, in that moment of hurtfulness I wanted to be away from everyone at the same timewhile we were in the same space. Maybe it’s the deeper effect of the stories, but it’s certainly something that will stay with you for a long, long time.

It was interesting for me, I could also feel the bodies and the presence, I could feel when someone sat on the floor, or stood up, I would listen to that, so I felt like different layers of listening, because I was listening to the story, but I was also listening to steps that were not part of the recording…

I think it was really interesting to listen to, I’m very heartbroken. I think that, how the whole installation starts with the sound of rain or just an environment, that´s surrounding them or surrounding the stories, brings you to another place, together with the installation and the construction of the installation. Where we don’t know where we are, we are just hiding almost, we don’t know if something else is going to happen, also in the room, interaction.

 

Note: A report on this project is currently being written. Professor Luis Carlos Sotelo Castro will present papers on this project at the forthcoming annual conference of the International Listening Association, at the International Seminar Material Strategies in the Arts at the Norwegian Theatre Academy/ Østfold University College, at the VIII Conference of the Latin American Oral History Association, and at the 8th International Conference for Histories of Media Arts RE:SOUND 2019 - Aalborg, Denmark. 

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