Universiteit Leiden

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Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA)

Justin Bennett

Justin Bennett teaches in the Institute of Sonology of the Royal Conservatoire (KC) in the Hague. He is also a member of Jubilee, a platform for artistic research and production in Brussels.

Justin Bennett- photo: M. Mizgiert

His widely ranging work is rooted both in the visual arts and in music. Bennett produces field recordings, drawings, performances, installations, audio walks, videos, and essays.

He studied sculpture, electronic music and video art and much of his work combines sound, image, space and storytelling. Bennett makes work for public spaces as well as art spaces and concert venues.

He collaborates with a wide range of other artists, including with BMB con., HC Gilje, Vermeir & Heiremans, Renate Zentschnig.


Justin Bennett’s research practice

A recurrent theme in Bennett’s research is the public’s experience of architecture, urban development, and (un)built space. He employs sound to render it audible as well as palpable: in his work, careful listening provides a radically different way of seeing and experiencing. Bennett's sound recording is comparable with shooting a video. He uses various microphones to change perspectives – like camera lenses. The microphones – the listener's points-of-hearing – move through a city, a street, a windy Russian tundra, or the different-sounding spaces of a building.

In many of Bennett's works and installations, sound and voice-over are juxtaposed with video images, drawings, maps and diagrams. Thus, a reciprocity is created between various forms of expression: a drawing or a text can be a score; and sound and image become ways of drawing and writing.

In this way, Bennett's work is also a research into sound and image as specific media, and an exploration of the ways in which they can be used and experienced. His way of working sparks unexpected complementarities, synaesthetics, collisions and manipulations of the mind.


Justin Bennett’s research for the IRG

With the working title Representation, Exploration, Creativity and Control of the City, Bennett wants to look from different perspectives at how cities and the public spaces in them develop. How do visual representations or tools, such as maps, drawings, maquettes, or CCTV cameras (re)imagine the city? What strategies could be developed for siting and presenting art and research in public space, such as audio walks, virtual spaces, augmented reality and performances? In formulating answers, he is focusing on talking, walking, and working with architects, art historians, art practitioners and local inhabitants of e.g. the Central Innovation District development in Den Haag.

He is also researching the historical, philosophical, and literary discourse around this theme. For instance, the polemical, utopian discussions between Constant and Asger Jorn on art, creativity, the city and technology, or recent critical thinking around Smart Cities and the privatisation of public space.

Sketch for Dream Map audio walk, Sao Paolo, 2013 - photo Justin Bennett
Still from Blueprint, an animated film score for improvised music, 2015 - photo Justin Bennett
Filters, tools for listening to the city, 2017 - photo Justin Bennett
Multiplicity, an audio walk in Brussels, 2019 - photo Justin Bennett
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