Reading Listening

Videofag, Toronto
Project: Christopher Willes and Adam Kinner
Bill Dietz and Noémie Solomon in conversation via the internet
Consultation and design: Jeremy McCormick

Reading Listening was a collective public reading of the book “Listening” (Jean-Luc Nancy) at Videofag in Toronto. Over the course of an afternoon members of the public uttered the entire book together as a collective vocal act. This vocalization of the text was live-streamed on the internet. A simultaneous live-chat between composer Bill Dietz and performance scholar Noémie Solomon was projected in the gallery offering a kind of live-footnote to the reading. 

About Listening:
In his lyrical meditation on listening, Jean-Luc Nancy examines sound in relation to the human body. How is listening different from hearing? What does listening entail? How does what is heard differ from what is seen? Can philosophy even address listening, écouter, as opposed to entendre, which means both hearing and understanding? The body, Nancy says, is itself like an echo chamber, responding to music by inner vibrations as well as outer attentiveness. Since "the ear has no eyelid" (Quignard), sound cannot be blocked out or ignored: our whole being is involved in listening, just as it is involved in interpreting what it hears. The mystery of music and of its effects on the listener is subtly examined. Nancy's skill as a philosopher is to bring the reader companionably along with him as he examines these fresh and vital questions; by the end of the book the reader feels as if listening very carefully to a person talking quietly, close to the ear.

Part of Adam Kinner and Christopher Willes' residency at videofag - Listening in Kensington Market.
Bill Dietz: