Audibility: Deaf/Sound/Art

Music, sound art and artistic education and art-making with Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals

Curatorial statement

Audibility promotes artistic processes and production as its main methodological tools, whose central axes are music, sound art and artistic education. The program’s research aspect examines their beneficial effect on d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, while the interventional aspect focuses especially, but not exclusively, on students attending Special Schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Athens.

Artists related to the fields of deafness, sound art, performance and new media are invited to unfold and share their knowledge, and to co-create artworks together with students and workshop participants within or outside the school setting. The tools in their disposal are the phenomenological dimension of sound beyond hearing and the cross-sensory dimensions of the auditory experience: the stake here is not to explore the deficiency of auditory perception, but to focus on the many other existing ways to understand sound stimuli. From this perspective, emphasis is placed on sound as vibration or as a visual stimulus, as well as on methods of sensory transfer, translation or depiction. The experience, inspiration, and knowledge of the artists, as well as their will offer and co-create is one of the main aspirations of Audibility during its implementation.

One of the most important prerequisites and challenges for Audibility is to design a framework for training and producing socially engaged and participatory art. In this condition the work of art is not necessarily understood as a final product, rather as a process. Socially engaged art can intervene and create frameworks and relationships that have a positive effect on the social field. In this regard, the demand is social inclusion, the deconstruction of stereotypes, the improvement of participants’ lives, the learning and cognitive refinement of students, the proposal of new educational tools for education professionals, and the promotion of visibility (or rather, audibility) through art to the general public.

We are initially worked on the field with invited artist Tatiana Remoundou (Visual artist, born in Athens, Greece, 1978. Tatiana studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts, and graphic design at the School of Art and Graphic Design of the Technical Education Institute (TEI) of Athens, and also attended as an Erasmus student in the Politecnica des Bellas Artes, Valencia, Spain. Over the years she has been involved in several artistic projects, and she is currently working as a teacher in special education. She is deaf and speaks the Greek language fluently, while she also signs fluently in the Greek Sign Language).

The work was curated by Dana Papachristou (Music/musicology, art education, new media aesthetic theory, adjunct lecturer of Transcultural History and Theory of Art in the Department of Culture, Creative Media and Industries, University of Thessaly, Greece).

For the next semester, the invited artist was Lambos Pigounis (composer, sound artist, educator at SAE Athens Institute of Technology, currently a visiting artist at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. His main artistic activities are Sound Art works and physical sound art performances as well as collaborations with musicians, directors and choreographers.

In the same line of thought and practice, our activities involved radio (as technology and as form) in the two-fold project entitled "Tangible Radio - Class on Air". And last, we moved outside the school environment addressing the same questions and adapting our methodological approach to adult interlocutors and audiences. The "Sound art and Deaf experience: hearing as a bodily experience" was a series of workshops organised by the Educational and Social Actions of the Greek National Opera, that resulted in a relaxed performance for an ensemble of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing musicians, open to the public.

Unicorn, by Tatiana Remoundou

Original artwork by Tatiana Remoundou & the students of the Argyroupolis’ Special School for the Deaf and hard of hearing

Immaterial Bodies, by Lambros Pigounis (composer / sound artist)

The artist re-constructed and presented his vibrational kinetic sculpture, “Immaterial Bodies” (2017), and exemplified the physics that govern it, namely Chladny's plate principles. Those physical laws were put into play in class, in playful applications that translate sonic stimuli into alternative modalities.

Research work on Audibility: Deaf/Sound/Art within the B-AIR Project Framework