Our own Camilla Rostvik (MA Art History) kindly sent us this review of the excellent Sense of Listening event.

Listening to Listening

A panel of very different people were brought together to respond to Jean Luc Nancy’s text Listening (2002) at the Whitworth Gallery this Wednesday. Nancy’s text muses around the differences between listening and hearing and how the listener strains to hear the truth behind the sonorous. Professor in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester Carol Mavor opened the session with a focus towards Nancy’s writing on listening being connected to the opening of meaning, and the cut that thereby might allow us to hear the beyond meaning. David Toop, Musician and Senior Research Fellow at the London College of Communication, delivered the keynote paper, circling around topics of time and sound amongst others. Having been enlightened by these perspectives, the audience were made to put on blindfolds for sound artist Eimer Birkbecks sound piece giving us a chance to experience sound in a new setting. Alison Criddle, PhD at University of Manchester, followed up with her paper titled Sonorous Vision: Listening in to the Pool of Caravaggio’s Narcissus drawing our attention to the single highlighted ear of Narcissus. Jenna Carine Ashton, also a PhD at the University of Manchester continued the session with her paper called Blue and White in Conversation: Derek Jarman and Joseph Grigely, fusing ideas on colour and sound together. A second sound performance was then given by Suzy Mangion, also a PhD at the university, using technological magic to loop her own voice into a choir of gorgeous music. Before going into a participant panel discussion, the audience were treated to a vocal and dance performance by Manny Emslie and Sarah Spies, both Senior Lecturers at the University of Chester. Their oscillations between sound, words and movement brought a perfect ending to a great session. After this performance the panel was invited on stage for a panel debate, chaired by Sophie Preston and Camilla Mork Rostvik, MA students at the university, before opening up for questions from the audience (of which there were many.) In conclusion, this session, while we listened, watched and talked brought us closer to an understanding of the phenomena of listening and curios to once more discover the brilliance of Jean Luc Nancy’s Listening.