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14th March, 2022

ResearchWorks: Invisible audiences and slippery truths

GuildhallSchool Red

Event Details

14th March, 2022
18:00 -

Speakers: Tatjana Ostrovska, Andy Lavender 

The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemics prompted an unprecedented shift in performers’ relationship with technology. New modes of performance emerged – live streamed concerts without the presence of the audience. The live streamed and pre-recorded online performances without the audience resembled the recording process more than a live concert performance, however musicians were still expected to deliver a convincing live performance.

By “removing” the audience, the borders between live and recorded performances became more and more unclear, and the “invisible audience” behind the screen became an undeniable force in determination of the success or failure of an artist. This presentation will share findings and thoughts on the invisible audience factor in classical music – the phenomenon itself, historical perspective, the unprecedented situation during Covid pandemic when “invisible audience” became the only audience and how it affected musicians and their attitudes towards their performances.

The second presentation considers how documentary performance has moved into complicated negotiations of ‘truth’ and agency in a highly mediatised cultural ecosystem. In order to explore some tendencies in contemporary documentary performance, I briefly touch on the work of three practitioners. Sarah Koenig’s investigative journalism podcast Serial (2014-2018), produced for the radio programme This American Life, was the first podcast to be downloaded over a million times; and notably explores anomalies and contradictions in actual trials. Belgian documentary artist Thomas Bellinck’s Counter-Museum of Individual Freedoms (2021- ) is conceived as an artists’ meeting space.

It follows from Bellinck’s The House of European History in Exile (2016/2018), an installation constructed as a museum from the future, which Bellinck described as ‘a documentary gesture that … bases itself on conjecture rather than knowledge’ (Bellinck 2018). Alecky Blythe’s new verbatim play Our Generation (National Theatre, 2022), drawn from five years of interviews with 12 young people, will allow for some brief reflections upon the relationship between lived experience, testimony, headphones and mediated performance.

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