Stolen Voices is an ongoing collaboration with Johanna Linsley inspired by eavesdropping.
It is about listening-in, or the way listening is always positioned in space and in time. It is about overhearing, or the stuff we add to everything we hear – the biases and associations that help us construct identities for those who surround us. Finally, it is about the (often uncomfortably) unstable borders between private and public that we all negotiate by existing in common with others.
The work begins by imagining public spaces as semi-fictional constructions, to which the artists have been summoned, as though on a ‘mission’. By attempting to gain access, navigate and decode traces of the occurrence of an-as-yet undefined event, the location itself is acknowledged as host to an already occurring phenomenon. In this sense, we move away from considering perception as belonging to the individual towards an understanding that what is available for detection is already present within the existing atmosphere of a place.
Each version of the project is responsive to the site it is situated within. One of the central concerns is the construction of a participatory research inquiry that engages both with local community groups and public space.
Stolen Voices has been part of #Points of Listening, convened by Salomé Voegelin and Mark Peter Wright in association with CRiSAP and the University of the Arts, London. Follow this link for documentation of the London-based eavesdropping excursion.
Stolen Voices North East was recently awarded an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Award funded through Grants in Aid funds.
A site-specific version of Stolen Voices is currently being developed in Seaham, East Durham and is in partnership with Helix Arts, East Durham Creates, Sound & Music and the Live Art Development Agency.
Previous pilot versions of Stolen Voices have been supported by Sound & Music, the Live Art Development Agency, Arts Bournemouth and Folkestone Fringe.
Stolen Voices will be taking place in coastal locations throughout the UK between 2016 – 2018.