The purpose of this paper is to explore a range of questions and problems pertaining to a sound-based project that the author began half-way through 2011. Called Daddy Diary, this archive-in-progress takes the form of a series of free-association audio monologues, produced by a first-time father, that are addressed to his adult-daughter of the future and that reflect upon their evolving familial relationship.
As is often the case with creative projects that are embedded in a plurality of ideological, material and temporal conditions, Daddy Diary requires an eclectic and para-humanities approach to its theorisation. By drawing from ethical, sociological, historical and pedagogical assemblages, this paper shows how Daddy Diary activates a non-hegemonic truth space wherein familial knowledge (tacit knowledge captured in the raw material of the voice recordings) participates in the sustainable and counter-institutional negotiation of self-concept.
Sound recording technologies have made accessible new ways of documenting human life-narratives, thus augmenting how notions of the self can be written, reviewed and shared with a creative learning community. Just as photography has been used in creative practice reinforce parental worth, playing into the experience of holding and letting go, so too does an audio diary provide the apparatus through which a parent may reflexively navigate death anxiety and the possibility of loss. Thus, this paper contains insight that may prove useful for other first-time fathers. It’s insight may also be of benefit to practice-led researchers wishing to understand how to translate non-institutional activity into a creative learning experience.
Just as the foregrounding of sound poses a challenge to the so-called dominance of visual cultural communication, so too can “listening” engage an alternative sensory perspective from which we “see” ourselves.
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