‘To speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’: About political performances of listening
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Marschall, Anika (2017) ‘To speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’: About political performances of listening. Platform: Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts, 11(Winter 2017), pp. 67-87.
In this article, I discuss performative sound interventions by British-Jordanian media artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan. I employ performance studies discourses to think through the politics of authenticity that his works address. I argue that Hamdan’s performative interventions aim to bring forth a new form of political agency that grounds on us rethinking the dramaturgy of listening. Different from an aesthetic of authenticity as seen in verbatim theatre, he does not aim to give a voice to the voiceless in order to challenge the norms of cultural belonging and identity politics. Instead, his artistic works about legal authentication processes produce a new sensibility for the act of listening and the political positioning of the listening subject. Interrogating how the politics of listening coalesces with an aesthetic of authenticity, I argue, can impel us to reconsider our understanding of the vox populi and naturalised practices of exclusion.