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Tag: Listening

The Interactive Nature of Sound

“The aesthetic subject in sound is defined by this fact of interaction with the auditory world. He is placed in the midst of its materiality, complicit with its production. The sounds of his footsteps are part of the auditory city he produces in his movements through it. His subject position is different from the viewing self, whose body is at a distance from the seen. The listener is entwined with the heard. His sense of the world and of himself is constituted in this bond.
The understanding gained is a knowing of the moment as a sensory event that involves the listener and the sound in a reciprocal inventive production, This conception challenges both notions of objectivity and of subjectivity, and reconsiders the possibility and place of meaning, which situates the re-evaluation of all three at the centre of a philosophy of sound art.”

Jean-Luc Nancy – Listening


Listening to Attempted Silence

“Listening in the library draws me into the minutia of human sounds. Every hum, cough, whisper, every footstep, sneeze, paper turn, rasp and throat clearing is amplified. In sound the library becomes an awkward space of fraught physicality: full of bodies, rigid and tense, trying to be silent. Ever so often the restraint cracks under the expectation: a mobile phone goes off, a voice misses the whispering register. In response a reproaching chorus of sounds ensues that leads the offending noise back into the approved sphere. In its rising and falling the sounds of the library invite the imagination of a boundary-less mass of human flesh, heaving in its own rhythm, oozing sighs and whispers and grasping me in its breath: a fleshy monster of which I am part, enveloped, swallowed in its hush as in a faintly murmuring beast. As I look up, I know the people are sitting at a distance, heads in books; their purpose firmly roots them in their own visual world. But in sound they come closer.”

Jean-Luc Nancy – Listening