Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Listening to Voices: Creative Disruptions with the Hearing Voices Network

"Listening to Voices: Creative Disruptions with the Hearing Voices Network is a research project that tries to understand how we can listen to voices that we find difficult, disruptive or challenging, whether these seem to come from inside or outside ourselves. It has been created by voice-hearers, academics and independent artists who are interested in asking why and how we silence voices in ourselves or others and how we might help increase understanding about the experience of hearing voices. Together we have created a companion to voice-hearing - Listen (If you Dare) - an interactive web version of the companion and a sound piece.

These works are challenging and are intended to raise awareness, empathy and understanding about the nature of voice-hearing experiences among support providers, families, friends and the wider public. They create space not only for voice-hearers, but for the voices they hear to be made visible and audible. These works seek to subvert and disrupt traditional ways of thinking about voice-hearing experiences and the silencing strategies that stop us from listening. We have begun creatively applying what we have learnt through co-producing these works to different forms of research (see Further Research section). By doing this we hope to encourage the practice and develop the skill of listening to voices that often go unheard. .."
"Sound Piece

Created by Pedro Rebelo and research participants, the Listening to Voices sound 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. We 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."

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