I Hear Here

I Hear Here began as a practice investigation. I have been performing it since October 2009. I practiced this piece privately and anonymously, investigating questions about my relationship with listening and performance, for 11 months before acknowledging it to anyone. Its first public presentation occurred September 11, 2010.

The questions of this piece concern a specific way of illuminating changes when something is listened to, in the one listening and in whatever is being listened to, without the distraction of other criteria, observers and objectives .  When I listen privately, without any reward, public acknowledgment, what is the quality of my listening? If I leave evidence of my listening to something specific in a certain place, anonymously, will my listening trail have an impact on those who might find that evidence, and will it change the listening to that thing in that place?

Other questions concern transactions having to do with listening: Being paid to be listened to in performance, when giving workshops as a professional musician and composer, a service rendered. Paying to listen to others play live music, paying others to listen to the recordings of those other others playing music, paying to listen to recordings of environmental sounds in concerts, events or on recordings. Taking sounds from places, transforming them, being paid to do this and paying others to do this.

I missed the direct dialogue with what I was listening to. So I listened, on streets, in parks, on walks, on the way to places. I listened for non-human sounds, mostly in the city. I saw myself as bearing witness, taking a mental photo of a leaf swirling slowly on the sidewalk making scratching scraping furtive sounds before being tossed in the air to a new location. Photos, that stop time … in each location where I practiced and heard a non-human sound, I left a note of what I heard, and a piece of my hair taped or glued to the paper. I left the paper adhered somehow to the place where I witnessed the sound. And took something from that place, adhering it to my body somehow.

On September 12, 2010, I publicly performed this piece at Mile Zero in Victoria with the Victoria Performance Actions group. These photos are from that event.

Performance Action Mile Zero, Victoria, September 21, 2010 Photo Brenda Patays

I chose to dress as if I was playing in the Symphony. The idea of payment was very stark for me as I wandered through a mowed lawn setting with statue of Terry Fox, surrounded on all sides by traffic, the ocean just below.