Sounding a Quietening: The sonification of maternal corporeal experience

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Abstract

In thinking about the relationship between dance and sound, I reflect here on a dance performance I created collaboratively with a composer in 2018 in which the soundscape became a central choreographic element in communicating women’s experiences of breastfeeding. In Let Down, I attempted to make visible an embodied and sonic representation of, and response to, a “quietening” of maternal corporeality. I offer the concept of quietening as a way to encompass an analysis of both corporeal and auditory dimensions of maternal experience, and in the following, the term serves the dual purpose of referring both to the self-censorship of the breastfeeding mother’s own movement and sound, and to Western societal expectations of the invisibility and silence of certain aspects of maternal corporeality. I also employ the term methodologically to describe a choreographic device developed in the work in which the uncoupling of an expected relationship between body and sound permits a quietening of the habitual societal expectations or narratives connected with it, allowing for an increased awareness of corporeal experience that can otherwise be muted.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalTheatre Research International
Publication statusAccepted - 01 Jan 2021

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