Yvon Bonenfant will discuss his research and practice around how we can use our voices and bodies in our work with children and young people to explore difference and a sense of 'queerness’. He invites you to consider the portal to otherness that is the ‘extra-normal voice’. He takes you on a journey through how unusual voicing evokes, represents, and plays with the creative potential of unusually configured bodies, and how it celebrates the idiosyncratic and the unique within all of us, in a manner that children are attuned to in special ways. Other titles for this talk might be: "Beyond Hushing", or “What Lies on the Other Side of Ssshhhhh! ?” From this talk, he hopes you can take away new creative, producing, programming, and conceptual strategies for how you might involve the sounds of children’s own vibrant selves in your studios, how you might reconsider your aesthetic values vis-a-vis children’s sound, to open up new understandings of why this might matter to the celebration of difference in culture.
Yvon is Professor of Artistic Process, Voice and Extended Practices at the University of Winchester as well as working professionally as an artist. We invited him to lead a workshop as the Gender Lab as part of our Creative Europe-funded project, PUSH.
Yvon likes voices that do what voices don’t usually do and bodies that don’t do what bodies usually do. He makes art starting from these sounds and movements. These become all kinds of things: performances, interactive sculptures, or even textiles. His ongoing creative initiative is the Your Vivacious Voice project for child and family audiences, which has so far engaged more than 230 000 people across a digitally responsive touring work, installation, and iPad app. In 2016, he launched the non-profit Tract and Touch to build forward from his work. Its first project, Curious Replicas, invites you to style your voice like hair. In 2017-18 Tract and Touch will be developing and launching The Narcissus Box: a voice/art console for extended, repeated use by children and youth with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in conjunction with the pioneering Rosewood Free School. He has just begun working on the concept for children's dance/voice performance Wig Show as a Swedish/UK co-production.