Listening to Voices

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Binaural Sound Piece – To be heard over headphones only
Duration: 29 minutes

The Listening to Voices piece was created in the context of the project “Listening to Voices: Creative Disruptions with the Hearing Voices Network”, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Dr Gail McConnell, Dr Jo Collinson Scott and Dr Deborah Maxwell. This Connected Communities project was a collaboration with Time and Space (Glasgow), Hearing Voices Ireland and Hearing Voices Belfast. The piece is an immersive audio work employing three dimensional binaural audio techniques and is to be experienced with headphones.
The piece aims to delve into the experiential phenomenon of hearing voices. All vocal materials for the piece were gathered during a retreat with voice-hearers in 2015 during which activities focusing on listening were conducted, as well as interviews and field recording sessions. The work takes the listener through different sound environments and introduces the experience of listening to voices through short narrative fragments, descriptions articulating how the voices relate to the acoustic world and enacted performances.
The work is structured in four sections. A long introduction presents the experience of voice-hearing through short personal stories and ends with an enactment of the experience of hearing negative voices. The remaining two sections are episodes (“Lab” and “Restaurant”) which focus on the relationship between voices and the acoustic environment. “Lab” features accounts which attempt to describe the phenomenon of hearing voices and reflects on the challenges the medical profession has in understanding this condition. “Restaurant” explores how voices are triggered by everyday sound environments and often arise out of saturated listening experiences. The piece ends with a third episode “Night” which is based on an enacted performance exploring the role of positive voices and thoughts.
The enacted performances were fully improvised and featured only members of the voice-hearing community. I would like to thank the extreme generosity, sincerity and positive energy of all participants. This piece would have not been possible without their contribution and guidance.

This work was launched on the 12th January 2015 at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow.

Warning: The piece includes explicit content and adult language. Some listeners may find the voices featured in the piece very disturbing.

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