Through music, performance, and Auslan, this research explores the ways that cycles of violence and fear endure and repeat. 

In a first time collaboration between Michelle St Anne and deaf artist Sue Jo Wright, St Anne shares her framework for ‘composing self’ – an embodied practice of collaboration, constructing safe, collaborative and self-determined spaces where artists can take risks, extend their practice  and reckon with their own methodologies. The collaborative process between St Anne and Wright aims to develop a shared commentary on how we hear and what it means to listen by interrogating abelist tropes and the Deaf experience.

This project asks new questions about listening, sensing, and competing artistic processes to explore the phenomenology of silencing complaints and the layered, entangled complexity of how power works. The collaborative process between Michelle St Anne and Sue Jo Wright aims to develop a shared commentary on how we hear and what it means to really listen by interrogating ableist tropes and the Deaf experience. It explores who is heard, and who is not, who gets to know and who doesn’t and who is ultimately silenced.

As a collective we endeavour to challenge the status quo and reckon the expectations set around our own bodies, voices and challenge the homogeneity – what stories we get to tell, who gets to tell them and why. Modalities of Listening takes its participants on a journey to break habitual listening patterning in the bodies of musicians and dancers to develop new pathways from a Deaf point of view.

This project pushes at the boundaries of practice, experience and audience modalities. Through the portal of vignettes, we allow the audience to co-author the work with us, through their own bodies and experiences. Through a dynamic series of studio sessions we seek to question the power dynamic and create two intercepting playing fields that sit between the hearing and non-hearing worlds of audiences, critiquing the provocation of “who gets to know”.

Key outcome of this research is to deliver the performance of ‘The Reckoning’ is a timely work about how women move in the world and what keeps them silenced. It is a multilingual in expression explored through dance, Auslan and music improvisation its importance centred around our moral imagination exercised through art making and the experience of art.

Michelle St Anne is a site-responsive artist whose immersive and intimate performances create unique audience experiences. Her work is deeply symbolic, responding to site-specific architectures, audience movement, and embodied participation through lighting, smell, sound, and temperature shifting the way audiences perceive critical issues of our time.

Sue Jo Wright is a Sydney-based artist working with photography, video, and textiles to explore her identity as a Deaf person. Sue grew up being torn between the ‘hearing world’ and the ‘deaf world,’. She is inspired to create artwork in an attempt to break the barriers between the two ‘worlds’ and offer the wider community a glimpse into the identity of the Deaf community.