Forum Artistic Research

Lecture Performance

How to Facilitate Careful Listening and Non-Coercive Participation in Artistic Research? LED Tickers and Love Letter Writing as Research Tools

Joonas Lahtinen

on  Thu, 16:15in  Neuer Saalfor  30min

In this lecture performance, I introduce and outline productive possibilities that LED ticker displays and love letter writing can offer for facilitating careful listening and non-coercive participation in artistic research, and in research-driven artistic practice. Briefly put, by the term “careful listening” in this context, I refer to modes of listening that are attentive to the contents of what is being said, but that also allow for and encourage the reflection of the subjective and “intra-active” (Barad) dimensions inherent in, and the material-performative and situated conditions of, listening. The term “non-coercive participation”, for its part, refers here to participative art-based practices that are careful – or caring – in the sense that they leave room for different modes or “degrees” of participation, and in that they aim to take the potential processes of exclusion and coercion rooted in the practical decisions and material circumstances regarding the devising and realization of the given project into account. Operating on the premiss that reading can be considered as a form of listening and attending to the text and its contents (Boulous Walker), and drawing on two recent endeavours I was part of in different yet cross-pollinating roles – as an advisor and collaborator in the artistic research project ‘Tactics for a Collective Body’ (AP Arts Antwerp, 2020–22), and as the artist-initiator of the installation ‘Love Letters’ in public space (Kunstzelle, WUK Vienna, 2023–24) – I discuss and present, first, ways in which love letter writing can function as a tool for – or mode of – careful listening, thereby fostering democratic and attentive dialogue between investigators within the frames of an artistic research project, and as a tool for offering a caring and accessible starting point for non-coercive participatory art practice. Secondly, I aim to show how the use of seemingly simple LED ticker displays can promote careful listening and non-coercive participation both in research workshops, showings, and artistic practice while, in the Rancièrean sense, also making the material-performative, “intra-active”, situated and auditive qualities of text and reading visible and sensible.

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