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An Exploration of Listening
(as Mode & Method)

Whilst in lockdown, we turned out energy to exploring micro projects and collaborations that could be a productive use of time, our minimal resources and our energies as we worked to navigate the on-going restrictions imposed by the pandemic that meant we were left with out a physical space, or any idea of when this would return. We quickly realised that we wanted to use this time to create a flexible, discursive space for thinking whilst promoting conversations, cross dialogue and supporting our artists and networks. 


Asking ourselves (something like): 


How can we build temporary models or methods of working with others? 


What this brought about was a question of what we could do to support the fermentation of research and find new ways to produce during this strange and uncertain time - creating projects that would allow us to enter into new artistic and critical territories. We set about creating a series of propositions to be used, tested and explored during this period of inoperativity - the first came in the form of OFF_CENTRE, an artistic research journal that brought together 21 local, national and international creatives, inviting a constellation of contributions to the theme of performativity. 


This was a fascinating exercise in assembling around an an idea, passing over questions of performativity as concept, practice and method - that we then received back and compiled to produce a record and resource of shared critical thinking.  

{ As such }


We then asked ourselves what it would look like to experience this kind of process and product in a different format. What if it wasn't just about the image, the writing or the reading - but instead exploring these ideas in another format, another way of experiencing. We wondered what it would look like to welcome in and explore the format of listening.  Engaging with the act, space or concept of listening, we wanted to open up a space to generate and contribute an artistic response that explores or proposes listening as a mode or method of thinking and making.  


Listening is a complex act that brings forth multiple potentials to explore the spaces of encounter and experience with artistic research and production. To begin this exploration, we sent invitations to different creatives (again from local, national and international locations) inviting them to pay attention to notions of: the act of listening, the process of listening, the context of listening, the space of listening, the role of listening, the counter-role of speaking and the shifting positions of the speaker-listener,


We sent out an articulate brief, outlining our interests, and initial idea - followed by a series of departing questions that served as material to play with, lean on and bounce off; triggering a thinking through of listening in relation to individual research and practice. 

Some Initial Questions 

 ( for us ) were:


How do we listen?

Who do we listen to?

What do we want to listen to?

How does listening compare and contrast with the other senses?

Where are the spaces of listening?

How might the space of listening enable a space of ‘being-together’?

What does it mean to occupy the space of listening?

What does it mean to become a listening body?

How does listening make you engage and react with your surroundings?

What kinds of proximity can listening explore?

What does it do to our understanding of intimacy? 

What position might the body of the listener take? 


Each contribution is a unique response and conscious inquiry into the act of listening - with the idea for this project coming from a reflection on the possibilities of listening as a curatorial act, gesture, space or encounter. Presenting listening as a dynamic space for conversation and questions to emerge - whilst exploring and connecting different forms of listening as a means of creating a space to examine, reflect and exchange. 

This project is supported using public funding from Arts Council England.

For more information or to express interest in being part of future iterations of OUT_PUT contact us via

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