t[h]e [ear] of the duck

a discoursive tool & reflexive journal documenting & expanding the development of my practice-(based/led*) research_


The header- t[h]e [ear] of the duck- is my adaptation of the phrase “the eye of the duck” used analogously by David Lynch to identify a crucial moment in his films, the scene that truly captures the essence of the work.

The initial purpose of this blog is as an aid in the delineation and articulation of the defining component(s) of my research. A repository for relevant information and reference materials, sketches and outlines of works, practical strategies and theoretical utterances. It is intended as a platform for dialogue with peers, programme supervisors and most importantly myself. A liminal space where ‘Posts’ and ‘Comments’ can enter into a ‘call and response’ – a feedback loop of research inquiry.

The duck, which under cursory inspection doesn’t appear to have the anatomical wherewithal to detect sound, seems suitably emblematic of a research that is concerned with, amongst other things, the nature of listening within the ocularcentric paradigm of Contemporary Art Practice.

I sort of go by a duck when I work on a film because if you study a duck, you’ll see certain things…And the key to the whole duck is the eye and where the eye is placed. And it has to be placed in the head and it’s the most detailed, and it’s like a little jewel…So when you’re working on a film, a lot of times you can get the bill and the legs and the body and everything, but this eye of the duck is a certain scene, this jewel, that if it’s there, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s just fantastic.” David Lynch.     

Kevin Logan



4 thoughts on “about_this_site

  1. Original Research Question and Abstract – Feb’ 2012

    ‘ How Does Mediation Modulate The Reception Of The Live Sonic Event? ‘

    In the context of this research, mediation is understood as the intervention in the path between sender and receiver, and modulation is the modifying or controlling influence that this action effects. The sonic events referred to here are specifically those created by performed sound producing acts and gestures. This research question has emerged out of my recent practice in which I explore sound through performance, and my critical engagement with issues of recording and reproducing performance.

    The aim of this practice-based research is to explore possible configurations of performance and moving-image in making event-orientated sound works. By engaging with conventions of listening and the nature of ‘liveness’ within Contemporary Art practice, I will be asking what is the ‘real’ of which these works are traces? I will subsequently consider how these traces are bound to the re-mediated act, and how, by means of a processing of the event via reproduction our perception of the original deed is destabilised.

  2. * for an overview of the debate concerning practice-based and practice-led research methodologies see
    the 21/10/2012 post, A Manifesto for Performative Research. Haseman, Brad (2006).

  3. 1st Re-Draft of Research Question and Abstract – Nov’ 2012

    In what ways does media[tisa]tion fail to re-present the performed sonic event?

    This research is concerned with listening and ‘liveness’, it is embedded in my own practice and the critical theory that informs it. Taking my analytical tools from a number of interrelated disciplines, I have identified two distinct yet overlapping areas of contestation that have emerged from my more recent inquiry.

    Firstly, the relationship of sound and image. This audio-visual binding offers the potential to create a sense of critical distance, whether within the work itself, or through its dissemination. This is specifically addressed through the examination of media[tisa]tion, interrogating how these sonic events are (re)presented to an audience. Here it is bracketed to emphasis its duplicity within this context. It refers to a complex and hybrid process of intervention, as mediatisation it is the reproduction in a technologized form, as mediation it may simply be a reiteration.

    And secondly, the ‘performative’ as an overarching modus operandi within this research programme, as a working practice, a source of relevant critical theory, and as a research methodology.

  4. 2nd Re-Draft of Research Question and Abstract – March 2013
    (Registered PhD Proposal)

    Mediating The Live Sonic-Event

    • Mediation is understood in this context as the transformation of the modality of a particular piece of work through technology, in particular
    the act of recording, re-presenting and disseminating a live sonic-event.

    • Live denotes a temporal and spatial co-presence.

    • Sonic-Event refers to a performance with sound, which I term a sound-producing ‘deed’. I use ‘deed’ to differentiate the process of doing,
    from the product or piece produced.

    Research Interest:
    This research has emerged from my own cross-disciplinary practice, comprising installation, digital media and sound composition, as well as sound design for film.
    My practice creates a liminal space between Performance Art and Video Art, within which I enact sound-producing ‘deeds’. Isolating these ‘deeds’ and re-staging them through gallery based audio-visual presentations, festival screenings and dissemination online.
    Uppermost in my practice, and the primary aspect of my original contribution to knowledge within Sound Arts practice is this emphasis, compelling an engagement with the performative ‘deed’, rather than the ‘thing’ or the phenomenon that it creates.
    By engaging with conventions of listening as they are established in Film Theory, and reconsidering late twentieth century Performance Art’s contested definitions of ‘liveness’, I am asking how is the ‘real sonic-event’ mediated through technologies? And, how is the ‘live’ re-presented through these mediations?

    The aim of this research is-

    • To develop an understanding of the role and consequence of mediation within my practice.

    • To define the relationship between ‘liveness’ and reproduction in sound based performance art.

    • To develop implementable strategies for the ‘making’ and analysis of the performance works that I have termed sound-producing ‘deeds’.

    My research interests will be addressed by-

    • The examination of the potential for the employment of listening oriented Film Theory to analyse mediation in sound based performance practices.

    • An investigation of the shared fugitive nature of sound and performance through the utilisation and subversion of concepts of
    authenticity appropriated from Performance Theory.

    • The interrogation of notion(s) of performativity and ‘liveness’ as a strategy to establish a source of critical theory and
    practice based research methodology.

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