2019 - Current
Katherine MacBride is an artist. They work with performance, installation, writing, video, and event making, with and without institutions. Much of their practice focuses on relational entanglements, listening across and being attentive to difference, and working creatively towards an ethics of inseparability and interdependency. Collaboration and supportive practices are important to them: currently this involves editing other people’s writing, and doing admin, space-making, and queer collectivity with Tender Center. They have previously worked as an artist, care worker, and art therapist in a range of public and voluntary sector organisations.
Empathic Listening/Radical Listening: learning from feminist and decolonial contemporary arts practices through artistic research.
This project intervenes in contemporary arts through practice-based research, addressing the uneven distribution of listening and being listened to following intersections of oppression and privilege. Approaching listening as both subject and method of research, I will document and analyse listening practices, beginning with the hypothesis that expertise on listening is praxis situated, and better understanding and sharing of this expertise can contribute to knowledge on how listening functions, supporting ‘listening across difference’ (Dreher 2009) with ‘a feminist ear’ (Ahmed 2016).
Listening has become a watchword in contemporary arts, generally signalling ideas around inclusion and resistance. However, as the ‘sonic episteme’ itself is another site of biopolitical power (James 2019), deeper analysis of listening within contemporary arts is necessary. This project addresses complex practices that do the difficult work of addressing listening at the granular level of social relations and organisational structures: redistributive practices rather than representational discourse.
I propose a generative theoretical framework connecting Barad’s concepts of ‘intra-action’, ‘response-ability’, and ‘exteriority-within’ (2007) with Ferreira da Silva’s concept of ‘difference without separability’ (2016). I will use a balance of multi-modal artistic methods to address my research questions to contemporary art as it is embodied, practiced, and materialised by feminist and decolonial practitioners. Theory and practice are interwoven, reflecting a theoretical entanglement of epistemology, ontology, and ethics, with publication of the research process in several forms—online interview archive, film, participatory workshops, publishable toolkits, installation artworks, and written thesis—aimed towards audiences with differing experiences.