Practicing primarily in video, live performance, text and audio installation, Justine McDonnell acknowledges the role of the viewer as a co-author and the voice as a primary agency in dialectical exchange in art. Through her creative practice, McDonnell explores how artwork can direct the viewer’s construction of new narratives in relation to the use of: autobiography; narration; repetition; and fragmentation. In particular, McDonnell focuses on how sound and the physicality of voice shapes an emotional response to space and place. McDonnell employs the female voice in disciplined and formal structures to challenge the framework of gendered language. For this artist, the voice is not simply a medium for communication — it has political currency in its materiality, it enables exchange, and it has use beyond communication. The voice forms an integral subject within McDonnell’s practice; it is at once narrative, material, and ideology. Underpinning this artwork, we find a strong engagement with forms of textual response. Elements of scripting and staging are used to explore how forms of autobiographical notations can be employed to subvert the conventional mediation of narrative items, encouraging audiences into critical positions towards existing power relations.
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