In The Verbatim Formula we use headphone performance to make audio testimonies that can be shared safely and anonymously. To make the testimonies, participants record interviews with each other, and with facilitators. The content of the recordings are chosen by participants, edited, and loaded up onto MP3 players or iPods. A performer then listens back to the testimonies through personal headphones, and relays the original recording to an audience by paying minute attention to the words on the audio, and repeating them accurately and respectfully. The identity of the original speaker remains anonymous, and this often means that their words can be heard with special attention. Our performances intend to create spaces for reflection and dialogue, not defensiveness or blame.
“It makes you really listen, makes you listen in a slightly different way, makes you take a step back from what you’re expecting to hear if you like.So I think I listened better, I think I listened with a more open ear if that makes sense.”
Rash, social worker