Sofia Wiberg and Stina Nyberg share an interest in participation, embodied knowledge and embarrassing encounters. Wiberg holds a PhD at the Urban and Regional studies division at KTH. She has experience of working with participatory processes in planning. Her work concerns dialogue, performativity and practice based knowledge. Nyberg works as a choreographer and dancer. Her work departs the social, biological and political construction of the body, and its ability to move.
We have collaborated within “Rehearsals – 8 acts on the politics of listening” (2013-14), initiated by Sofia Wiberg together with Petra Bauer, and participated in the symposium “Participatory Practices in Art and Architecture” (2015). In november 2016 we participated in the conference AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association) Architecture & Feminisms: Ecologies/Economies/Technologies with our act “Listen up”: Based on our speech, we have published a text in the magazine Paletten 2017.
Although listening holds a central position in communication and politics it has been disregarded through a too one-sided focus on the voice (Lacey, 2014). Listening, in difference from the speech act, has been bound up in a cultural hierarchy of the senses that privileges the visual over the auditory and a logocentric frame in which listening is positioned as something passive, as opposed to acts of writing, reading and speaking. This connection to passivity has hindered listening to be seen as a political action (ibid).
With these thoughts as a starting point we want to rethink listening as an embodied and critical activity. With listening we do not only refer to words, but also to atmospheres, body languages and silences. If we learn to listen, we cannot decide in advance what we want to listen to. Listening encompasses unpredictability: to listen, to see, to experience, without makingpreconditioned judgements, interpretations, or analyses. We could say that the act of mutual listening directs us to that which we do not already know: to listen for the unexpected.
In this conference we want to explore the politics of listening through the practice of listening. Acknowledging how we are already surrounded by impressions we try to avoid discovering something new in favour of listening to the already existing. In this gymnastics for the senses we invite the doing to theorize itself.