Forum Artistic Research

Oral Presentation

Artivistic Listening. How Listening of Improvised Music Performance Can Re-Shape Our Ecology

Leonardo Barbierato

on  Thu, 11:00in  Neuer Saalfor  30min

The purpose of this presentation is to explore, albeit not exhaustively, the activist potential of a specific mode of listening to improvisational and participatory performances. Many studies have emphasized how listening is multifaceted and influenced by various attitudes and approaches that allow us to experience the sensory in different ways. In particular, Mailman’s article (Joshua Banks Mailman, 2018) metaphorically juxtaposes one type of listening with another discipline, explicitly highlighting an interdisciplinary trend in contemporary art that redefines the concept of art itself (Brian Holmes, 2007). In this presentation, I will integrate two listening modes identified by Mailman, listening as adaptation and listening as improvisation, linking them to my artistic practice as an improviser/artivist. Throughout my series of site-specific improvisation performances [in situ], acoustic interactions have developed between me, the instrumentation, the audience, and the non-human elements of the ecosystem in which I operated, which are worth reflecting upon. These interactions have led to the decentralization of the artist in favour of abolishing hierarchy and compartmentalization between passive and active elements within the performance. In this performance, listening is an active communicative component, even when silent, and lays the groundwork for recognizing a shared space-time in which interactions can occur, encouraging creativity and re-framing ecological perception with the environment. My thesis here is that this type of listening in improvised music performances, such as [in situ], can bring forth the agency of the listener and potentially transform the entire performance into an activating yet unpredictable practice. Through interviews with the actants that took part in the shows, integrating them with my notes and memories regarding the performances, I will, within this intervention, seek to understand the dynamics of this listening, its potential, and the ways in which it emerged during the performance, as well as how individuals felt emotionally during it. Expanding the perspective, the aim is to understand whether, with this awareness, sound artists (understood as all artists working with sound) can reclaim their political, social, and ecological impact and whether listening can become an artivist means.

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