PhD University of Melbourne 2016 Pages: 195

Listening art: making sonic artworks that critique listening

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Sonic artists and listeners to sonic artworks tend to take for granted that how a listener listens to a sonic artwork affects what that listener perceives that sonic artwork to be, through the listener’s inclusion, exclusion, and interpretation of the sonic events that constitute a given artwork. This tendency leaves the act of perception un-theorised in the production of sonic artworks, and unquestioned in their reception by listeners. This project seeks to address this problem by making sonic artworks that take criticality of listening as their primary focus, on the part of artists and listeners. Its aim is to explore structuring sonic artworks around critical discourses on listening, and for those artworks to foster critical reflection on listening by listeners, hinging on the question: “how can sonic artworks be made that form critiques of listening?” Based on an integration of schema theory and immanent critique, I devise and apply a rationale for making sonic artworks structured as discourses on listening. I complement this with an original adaptation of the Heuristic Research method, which I use to determine whether the artworks made for the project foster critical reflection on listening in audience experience, through the collection and appraisal of a group of listener’s descriptions of their experiences of the works

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