In the contemporary performing arts practise, a re-evaluation of sound as an aesthetic strategy is at stake. Performers, choreographers and directors consciously experiment with the potential of sound as an independent counterpart – not a mere illustration – of the visual. In these performances, sound and image are considered as equally important and possess their own grammatical autonomy. This research aims to understand the resulting heautonomous relationship between sound and image and its functioning and influence on the phenomenological experience of an audience.
As the study of sound is relatively new within Performance Studies, a combination of different fields of study is required, combining insights of Visual Studies, Sound Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenology. Based on my own phenomenological listening-experiences as an audience- member (performance analysis) and researcher-as-dramaturg (creation process), this research deals with the functioning of sound in relation to the image in two performances: ‘The guardians of Sleep’ (2017) by David Weber-Krebs and ‘Hear’ (2016) by Benjamin Vandewalle and Yoann Durant. Furthermore, my collaboration with EPAS-students creates an enclosed research environment to develop concepts, and to further develop my position as a researcher-as-dramaturg.