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  • Writer's pictureConfessions of A Listener

Coming Full Circle: Ending a Project With New Beginnings

Why is it that for most in the aftermath of achievements, we immediately jump to criticizing our successes? Could it be due to upbringing/teaching/western culture, where we are often taught to strive for the next better thing? To analyse and strip down what could be better, in order to gain a higher grade? It's one of my aims to disrupt this preconditioned thinking, and this project has shown me how important it is to reflect the on positive, fulfilling, rewarding and self-affirming outcomes.

A lot of emotions were swirling around during the week of the performance. Changes in personal circumstance and general anxiety caused my worry to peak on the afternoon of the recital. This wasn’t helped by my mind fooling itself into thinking “I-had-enough-time” i.e. leave the house on the hour before everyone was due to arrive. Looking back, I should’ve trusted my gut instinct (never undervalue this feeling) and left to arrive AT the venue for the hour before doors opening.

Anyhow negative reflection aside, the event was a success! A fantastic turn out (around 12 people) with some new faces and a couple of followers from social media. On realising I wouldn’t be ready in time, I asked a couple of early arrivals to help with setting up. Asking for help is never, ever a negative and one way in which we learn more knowledge (about the world, skills and ourselves). I’ve also learnt that I work well when having a support network in place. Knowing I can go to someone about a specific skill, knowledge and experience, gives me more confidence in developing my own. Having those around you who support your endeavours (friends/family/course colleagues) is also a great comfort.

Back to the facts of the performance. After setting up, remapping a couple of knobs/dials (and calming the adrenaline shakes) the performance got underway. Whilst carrying out the piece, my mindset transitioned from panic to calm and immersed in the present. I wished I had had the flexibility to carry out the piece for longer, but due to the programmes not quite working together as imagined, I couldn’t do so. Most likely with some more experimentation this could be refined.

Interestingly, I had to indicate to a course colleague that the performance had finished in order to end that part of the event. I liked that they were so immersed in the piece that they were unaware of time passing. One person experienced feeling a transition between different emotions and being aware of this transition. To begin with she felt out of place (“this is weird”) to sensations of irritation/uncomfortable (“during the loud noisy parts”), to appreciating the calm at the end of the piece. Receiving this feedback was very rewarding, as I had hoped the work would be relatable with other people’s experiences and encourage their own self-awareness.

We then had a group discussion about the work. Technical demonstrations and practical questions were conversed as well talking about the theme, introspection and how external dynamics influence our inner perception.

Here is one version of the performance. To be fully immersed in the experience I recommend listening with headphones:

I hoped you’ve enjoyed following this short journey. It’s been a good challenge to write about my work and learning more about audio-visual art. In summary my style has come back around to listening awareness but looking internally rather than externally. Previously, I sought to focus my own (and others’) listening engagement with the everyday and nature soundscapes around us. Now I find a calling to explore inner listening: to understand my own thoughts, emotions, reactions and express these through audio or audiovisual art (depends on the subject matter, but I’m swaying towards sticking with audio).


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