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Queer Sonic Cultures: An Affective Walking-Composing Project

Truman, Sarah E and Shannon, David Ben (2018) Queer Sonic Cultures: An Affective Walking-Composing Project. Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry, 1 (3). pp. 58-77.

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Abstract

Walking in nature has long been associated with creativity. Yet walking’s associated research and artistic practices remain dogged by representationalism. Concomitantly, intersectional concerns of race, gender, and dis/ability determine what kinds of bodies are allowed to walk where (and in this case, the where is Brexit-era Britain). This article attempts to navigate the complexity of these tensions, contextualizing a five-day walking research-creation project along St. Cuthbert’s Way that we called Queer Sonic Cultures. As academics and artists interested in the relationship between walking and composition, our initial propositions are to become affected as we walked and to create sonic cultures (songs) using whatever affected us along the way. In using research-creation as a research methodology, we understand our artistic compositional practice of co-creating lyrics-melody-harmony-production-arrangement as the research. Unlike some forms of arts-based research that use an artistic form to disseminate research findings, in research-creation the artistic practice is the research and the theory. In the interests of continuing to make this apparent, we shall prefer to describe this contextualizing article as Academic Liner Notes. The Academic Liner Notes begin with a brief description of the location of the walk, contextualized within the tradition of walking and composing in the British landscape, and the use of sound-based methods and literature to represent such landscapes. Following this, we will introduce research-creation as a methodology contextualized within affect studies. We argue that the resultant sonic cultures (nine in total) rather than representing the walk, in fact, more-than-representationally intensify the affective dimensions of the relations we were part of along the way.

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