Listening Space - by Dispersed Holdings
Listening space. Post US-election-sonic-shockwave, listening feels and means differently. Listening: a concussive force deep in the body, subsonics shaking the ground of feeling and of being. Listening: a solitary explosion in the self which no other can hear. Ears ringing, there are frequencies we have lost. Listening also constitutes a new public space, a social resounding: listening together, to-gather.
Between the ears: an imaginary space where sound is received and held, reverberant. Receptive space; private; mixing the sound of the world with our own thoughts. We speak ourselves to ourselves from this space, listen ourselves into being. From this space new sounds emerge into sharing, intimate or public.
Between the dyad and the anonymous crowd, between the household and the agora, are there forms and scales of gathering through which we can come to recognize one another? At once individual and in relation? A scale of gathering that makes relation possible?
Yes. It is the scale of listening space.
Our listening space, dispersed holdings, creates itself in this space. A physical place, once an apartment. At the close of the nineteen-sixties, the living space of the artist Eva Hesse. We keep her close. We cook in what was her kitchen, lie on what was her floor, place our round library table and our books in her dining room.
Listening Space: what you hear first is the noise of the kitchen: water falling into new shapes, forming up inside the cups and dishes, sloshing out again, draining back into its special amorphousness; metal and glass in their percussive clamor; the door swinging, the garbage hustled to the curb downstairs. Next, the drone of a synthesizer and the processed twang of an electric guitar. The sound of dispersed holdings stages the noise of living and re-invigorates the work of space keeping.
Listening space: locating the heard spirit of the structure and its resident modes of being, giving that spirit a language in which to articulate itself, and then speaking back by our playing. Playing as improvisatory listening.
Listening to. To indexes a physical distinction between active receiver and sound-producing entity. To makes us hear a crucial separation, a gap: acknowledging this gap, the other emerges as distinct. Sound crosses from one interior to another, motion in one causing motion in the space between, causing motion in the other. Listening to is a politics. Listening's gap is the space of empathy.
dispersed holdings: an artist-run listening and publication space hosted by Sal Randolph and David Richardson. On the Bowery in New York, the space gives site to small-scale gathering, slowed durations, reading/writing/publishing, cooking and eating, collective making, collective listening.
dispersed: publication, endeavoring to make less remote.
holding: an environment where things can develop (see D.W. Winnicott). Necessarily a gerund, as its time is eternal, its work ever incomplete.