Listening as (a) movement

Listening as (a) movement was a public art project in NW Pasadena, CA investigating sound and the human voice as physical entities that can move us emotionally, form deep interpersonal connections, and be agents of social change.


The project is took place at Side Street Projects’ (SSP) mobile headquarters, where Mann built three outdoor sculptures stemming from the designs of pre-radar sonic technologies. The sculptures simultaneously subverted and evoked the original aim of these early WWII technologies: they promoted active listening in the surrounding neighborhood, amplified local voices and needs, and pointed to the erosion of personal privacy through recent developments in surveillance.

The parabolic and horn shaped acoustic sculptures were employed in a series of events produced in collaboration with local community groups and a selection of interdisciplinary artists. Community events included a public dialog between the Youth Advocates of DayOne and the neighborhood NW Commission, a sculpture created by students from YouthBuild, and interviews of Pasadena Senior Center members by Youthbuild. Arists Alex Braidwood, Allison Johnson, Julie Tolentino, and Deborah Kaufman & Alan Snitow created workshops, performances, and screenings in response to the sculptures and the site, which engaged the public at large. Each event uniquely explored ideas such as listening through the body, the politics of listening, and experimental sound making.

SSP invited Mann to create this project in response to the listening needs of their neighborhood in NW Pasadena. This socially engaged artwork acted as an empowering device to amplify real concerns and questions of local individuals and communities along with addressing broader ideas about the human voice, acts of communication, and the role of listening in contemporary society. As a direct result of the project, various infrastructure, safety measures, and youth programming were implemented in the neighborhood.

Opening performance "Decay/Decode" by composer Allison Johnson
Calling 411! A dialog with Youth Advocated from DayOne and the NW Commission
Calling 411! A dialog with Youth Advocated from DayOne and the NW Commission
Calling 411! A dialog with Youth Advocated from DayOne and the NW Commission
Calling 411! A dialog with Youth Advocated from DayOne and the NW Commission
Listening device workship with Alex Braidwood (photo credit: Meredith Lynn Morrison)
Listening device workship with Alex Braidwood (photo credit: Meredith Lynn Morrison)
Do Not Track: Thinking about Privacy with Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, plus a live in-person drone demonstration by Matias Viegener
Do Not Track: Thinking about Privacy with Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, plus a live in-person drone demonstration by Matias Viegener (photo credit: Audrey Chan)
Do Not Track: Thinking about Privacy with Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, plus a live in-person drone demonstration by Matias Viegener (photo credit: Audrey Chan)
Closing performance with Julie Tolentino
Closing performance with Rob Ray