Rehearsing Practice as Research
Keywords:Polyphony, Ethics, Listening, Participation, Social practice
This article explores ways that artists work with people in forms of social performance art practices. Approaching, directing and organising people involves an ethics of attentiveness, including modes of listening, that allows for diverse research outcomes. In this context, Lisbeth Lipari’s 2014 book Listening, Thinking, Being: Toward an Ethics of Attunement discusses philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’ notion of the faceto-face encounter with another as a meeting that must embrace difference. Practices of listening and attunement play a critical role in Olivia Webb’s PhD project at AUT University where her art practice engages participants and diverse communities in music and song. For these projects Webb draws from her experience as a trained choral singer and performance artist and asks how listening is translatable across different cultural groups. These practice-led methodologies, based on ideas of participation, actively amend and redirect her projects.
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