Making a material representation of our conversation gave it a performative element, I found, so perhaps made us all be more focussed in what we were about to say, rather than really listening to what people said. I also found my attention split between what we were saying and how we used the string to build a form. I wanted to make modifications to it – when we went off topic – to wrap it up an arm or around another object (water bottle) and to extend it in dimensionality rather than a mostly linear fashion which a line suggests as its most basic form.
I was also thinking about silence and how important listening is in conversation. Pauline Oliveros, composer, sound artist, musician and educator developed a whole ethos that grew out of her practice “Deep Listening”.
There wasn’t really a way in that quick exercise to incorporate listening – though we could have, in retrospect – we would have made a more skeletal structure. The activity was focussed on speaking enough sentences to make the structure.
It might have been a quick exercise in interactive learning and freeing up conversation but it did spark thought.
“People’s experiences are all different, and you don’t know what the person experienced. They know, but you don’t, so I think it’s important to listen carefully to what a person has to say. And not to force them into any direction at all but simply to model what you’ve experienced, model it and also be what I call a Listening Presence. If you’re really listening, then some of the barriers can dissolve or change.” Pauline Oliveros,