What is the sound of one hand clapping?
A Zen Koan
Dans quelque cent ans, j’ai confiance, le monde sera large.
Enfin! On communiquera avec les animaux, on leur parlera.
Courts d’esprit ceux qui ne voient point ce mouvement général,
la signification de plusieurs pointes scientifiques et paraphysiques dans cette direction.
On se demandera alors comment on a pu subsister si longtemps ce monstrueux trou dans la civilisation.
– Henri Michaux
All living things are immersed in a landscape of sound [soundscape] that profoundly impacts interactions with(in) themselves and with their surrounding environment. Intriguingly, the wide diversity in the sources of sound is amplified by the diversity of ways in which it can be perceived. Regardless of how and who perceives sound, whether rural or urban, the rapid pace of our growth oriented society has shifted the balance between the “natural” and “artificial” sounds. This shift in balance is perceived by all forms of life, in mysterious and unique ways.
By capturing and reshaping elements of the soundscape, our project aims to expand and focus our attention on the conscious act of listening. To do so, we search answers for these questions: Through the process of exploring the diversity of sounds around us, can we improve our awareness of the complex web of acoustic elements of our environments and enhance our connection with the world we live in? Can we merge the scientific process that led us to explore the field of bioacoustics with the process of artistic research and creation?
Our project takes an experimental approach in which we will sample, dissect, and distort sound from our past and our present. From the past, we will experiment with sound recordings of bird and bat acoustic signals taken by some of us in the field as students of nature (recordings made 8-30 years ago). From our present, we are open to listen to our surroundings through different practices:
Just Listening emerges as a need/desire for listening.
From this need we record…
From these recordings we re-listen…
From these acts of re-listening (digging slowly) we perceive…
And, from this perception we try to “translate” by reshaping and molding into other forms …
And keep learning, and needing, and desiring… so that finally, we can create an open space and invite people to engage in the act of just listening.
From the description of a recording collection “Silent House”
No silence is absolute.
I spent a day in a silent house.
There were some sounds I heard, at least, while I was recording.
What about the rest of the time? Well, I was pretty much unaware of them.
Because I was not listening.
Our past kitchen session:
Just Listening, Just Listening unites naturalists, biologists, acoustic and performing artists based in San José (Costa Rica), Sagarejo (Georgia), Wendland (Germany) and Madrid (Spain). Distances between us are far, but our connections are close, bonded by trust in facing together the unknown. We reach out from our past study of bioacoustics and from our more recent acoustic awareness that stretches from our own private environments to public open spaces.