Forum Artistic Research


Listening as a Way of Not Yet Knowing

Trond Lossius

on  Thu, 17:15in  Neuer Saalfor  90min

To listen can mean pausing from outward action to receive, take in, and contemplate one’s surroundings. To listen is to open up to and be challenged by the environment, community, culture, and ideas one is surrounded by and embedded within. To listen is to willingly destabilise oneself, daring not to know, and instead accept and enter into a world that repeatedly reveals itself as different from how one previously knew it. Listening is to let go of control and embrace questions more than desire answers.

Gradually, I have realised that such ways of listening have always saturated my artistic practice, literally and metaphorically. Fresh out of composition studies, I transitioned from composing scores intended for concert performances to working on computer-based sound installations. I got involved with collaborative and transdisciplinary projects, which exposed me to the worlds of other artists and concerns beyond music, informed by discourses in fine arts and performance arts. Developing sound in galleries and museums as part of installations that might also contain paintings, video or objects, I had to listen to and be sensitive towards acoustics, architecture, site, artistic concepts and audio-visual relations to develop site-specific or site-adjusted works affording the audience to listen and take time. Spatial audio became an essential means of engaging with the site and offering the audience an experience of being present within the resulting environment. Additionally, the various projects often required custom software development, and engaging with software’s affordances, preconceptions, and limitations implied listening to the tendencies and forces driving tech development.

For over ten years, I have developed a field recording practice using surround (ambisonic) microphones, primarily in suburban areas. Rather than recording sound, these recordings capture a sense of place. To understand something, I have found it more valuable to operate at the margins rather than at the centre. It is at the edges that something is negotiated and becoming. Working between sound, music and fine arts, with software still in flux, within artistic research while still in the making, is to position myself where I continuously have to ask what this is and can become. From this position, I do not yet know; instead, I can listen and be alive.

 Overview  Program