Throughout the residency I was thinking about what it means to listen and to care, and how these two actions play out in the relationship between Curator and Artist. As part of my research, I listened to a collaboratively written audio essay titled Towards a careful listening: Sound, gender, feminism, activism which was really formative to my ideas in developing the work.
The essay addresses several questions, some of which are: How might we understand practices of careful listening? What does it mean to listen with care in a way that disrupts gendered patterns of behaviour and open spaces for both more generous and critical modes of engagement?
What was suggested as being modes of ‘careful listening’ were: being aware of the other person’s emotional state and body language; listening with concern; being critical and reflective rather than obliging; and keeping in tune with yourself as you listen to others. The essay concludes with why the writers think addressing themes of listening are important in a time ‘typified by a capitalization of our communicational faculties’;
1.) A shift in our relations to one another and to ourselves is key to a reimagining of what other modes might be possible despite the imperatives of capitalism.
2.) There is much to be said about the labour of listening and care, both in terms of waged labour and what has been defined as a feminisation of the work force and the continual sexing and gendering of qualities such as sympathy and empathy.
The main focus of this new project was to analyse the ways in which the Curator and Artist communicate and collaborate in order to realise a work. Through blindfolding myself and asking the Curators to care for me for a 24-hour period, I hoped to amplify these modes of communication and extend these forms of collaboration. In undertaking a shared endurance performance of intimate contact, different forms of talking and listening to each other, and increased personal care, I intended to introduce feminist and queered modes of communication between us.
Frances Barrett is Runway’s guest blogger for #28 Movement.