© Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir
Peer-reviewed audio paper

Fleshy listening and multi-entity performance

On analytical processes within artistic research
6. april 2021
Fokus: Sounds of Science
  DOI https://doi.org/10.48233/SEISMOGRAF2604

This audio paper draws on analysis of a case study within the field of artistic research. In summer 2018, the project sent poet Gunnar D. Hansson, composer Anders Hultqvist and ecological sound artists Stefan Östersjö and Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir on a search for the sounds of the book Tapeshavet (Hansson, 2017). The work links to the author’s Activation Series, which employs the artistic method of activation through a practice of performative responsivity to an environment. It therefore falls under the field of ecological sound art. Through an ecological approach, relations and behaviour are however reconfigured through the phenomena of ‘performance’. The aim of this paper is to unpack the impact of such expansion of the performative body. This is done using new analytical tools, namely fleshy listening (Stefánsdóttir & Östersjö, 2019) and multi-entity performance (Rawlings, personal communication, 2019; Stefánsdóttir, 2019, 2020). The paper is therefore set to bring forth a more fluid understanding of performance, the curatorial and of sound art. But also, to provide the field with analytical tools as well as a technique and conceptual stance that may be of use in our times, when we critically look at what making sound means in current and future conditions.

The paper references data/documentation from the case study, gathered on site in June 2018 by Anders Hultqvist, Stefan Östersjö and Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir. Other sound sources (audio-video work, binaural compositions, sound files from installations) can be located in the bibliography list. In that instance it should be noted that improvisers and vocal performers in the installation Fjärilarna steg upp (2020) are Sofia Härdig, Felicia Konrad and Liv Kaastrup Vesterskov. The ambisonic documentation of that installation features also the sounds of multiple epipedobates tricolor, residing at the tropical palm house of The Botanical Garden, Lund, Sweden. In addition, the audio paper also includes a fragment from Concert of Sound of Mull (2019), performed by Maja Jantar, angela rawlings and Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir.


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Stefánsdóttir, H. S. (2019b) H e (a) r: of an Ecological Enactive Perspective. 18 December, Seismograf, 23. DOI: 10.48233/seismograf2203.

Stefánsdóttir, H. S. (2020) Let’s (be) Play(ed by) an Ocean: Of Situated Actions Within Ecological Sound Art. In: G. D. Hansson, G. and A. Hultqvist (eds.), ‘Compositional’ Becoming, Complexity and Critique. Art Monitor. Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg Press, pp. 73-102.

Stefánsdóttir, H. S. and Östersjö, S. (2019) Participation and Creation: Towards an Ecological Understanding of Artistic Practice. La Deleuziana, 10, pp. 371-385.

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Sound sources

Hansson, G. D. and Hultqvist, A. (eds.) (2020) Tapeshavet Hörspiel [Audio]. In: G. D. Hansson, G. and A. Hultqvist (eds.), ‘Compositional’ Becoming, Complexity and Critique. Art Monitor. Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg Press.

rawlings, a. (2019) Concert of ‘Sound of Mull’. [Audio. Performers Maja Jantar, angela rawlings, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, at Sea Loft, Kinghorn, UK, 18 May].

Stefánsdóttir, H. S. (2017) I Play Northern Lights [Binaural version].

Stefánsdóttir, H. S. (2019c) I Play Cement [Audio and video].

Stefánsdóttir, H. S. (2019d) Study in Sound – The Fossilised Ocean. [Audio]. In: G. D. Hansson, G. and A. Hultqvist (eds.), (2020) ‘Compositional’ Becoming, Complexity and Critique. Art Monitor. Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg Press.

Stefánsdóttir, H.S. (2019e) Study in Sound – The Quarry. [Audio]. In: G. D. Hansson, G. and A. Hultqvist (eds.), (2020) ‘Compositional’ Becoming, Complexity and Critique. Art Monitor. Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg Press.

Stefánsdóttir, H. S. (2020) Fjärilarna steg upp [Installation. Vocal performers Sofia Härdig, Felicia Konrad, Liv Kastrup Vesterskov. Performers of activations Gunnar D. Hansson, Anders Hultqvist, Stefan Östersjö, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir]. The Botanical Garden, Lund, Sweden 14-18 October.


Sound art
artistic research