Forum Artistic Research

Lecture Performance

Doing Nothing as Transcultural Listening Practice

Jeremy Woodruff

on  Thu, 11:30in  Neuer Saalfor  30min

Following Eidsheim 2019, the role of listening is most important for understanding sonic borderlines and the immediate cultural concepts we assign sounds. The Sonic Borderlines festival (April, May and June in Berlin) investigates a closer type of work, of “worlding” (Gale 2019 and Haraway 2016) with an engaged audience to help them interrogate their ways of hearing simultaneously with transcultural musical practices. This investigation gets to the heart of how people identify themselves with sound. I continually try to find ways to bridge the gap between sound studies and music theory through practice. Worlding as a way of listening has been key in that attempt particularly in my “do-nothing” compositional strategies. Do-nothing gardening, which comes from Masanobu Fukuoka’s organic gardening philosophies (1975) is where you apply minimal manipulation in horticulture, and just let the garden grow; you take a few weeds out, you do this and that, but basically ‘nature runs its course’. It is related to John Cage’s ideas to some extent but the difference is that it is not proprietorial. It is saying that the artwork is not my possession – I do not “do” anything. By introducing new metaphors of “listening as” while combining unlikely sonic sources, sounds can be other while also being themselves. In a performance/lecture I introduce work where doing nothing is a work of worlding, a novel experience where the social tonality (Woodruff 2014, 2020) of the events come into focus.

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