Shared listening is at the heart of all our practices. We listen to the city, to many people and places; but we also listen to each other as well as in solitude. The Delhi Listening Group 'mehfil' provides each of us a collective space where ideas, processes and texts will be carefully listened to and met generously with thoughtful questions. A polyphony of listening positions in the group helps each of develop a more flexible ear. Social ecologies of listening are in transition. Spaces and practices of shared listening (the cinema, the street, the market, the bus) are vying for space with the apparatus of individual attention economies and emerging mores of containment and control (the earphones, the mall, the metro). Urban subjectivities are shape-shifting in the uneven fabric that global modernity weaves across new and changing city spaces. We seek to create new opportunities for shared listening.
The question of how to write through the practice of listening, rather than simply writing 'about' listening and sound has been an ongoing interest. We take the physical work of listening and organising ones attention as a starting point for composition; and experiment with durational and situated writing in different parts of the city. Everyone listens differently. Writing-listening is a form of sound recording which allows us to highlight the specific experience of different listeners which is always a selective and site specific meaning making process. The practices that we have explored through writing include investigations into: How sounds structure everyday time Expert listening and sounding practices associated with specific forms of skilled manual work. Sonic relationships within and around domestic space. Articulating shared listening experience Sounding out public transport and market spaces Descriptive scores of practical listening exercises Graphical notations of everyday listening. Structures platforms and networks for listening Sounds of teaching and learning
We explore existing structures, media forms as potential vectors for shared listening and public dialogue about sound listening and the city. Our approach to public structures and interventions hinges on detailed understanding of existing networks, rhythms and social dynamics of a given space. We adapt the existing structures and forms via low cost d.i.y. audio tools and sustained local presence.
Through Ankur Society for Alternatives in Education several members of DLG are working with kids clubs, learning collectives and school groups to further Ankur's established listening based practices for building collective and self-learning contexts. We use a constantly evolving repertoire of individual and dialogic listening practices as part of a broader programme to connect school-learning to everyday experiences. Some of our questions are: What is the acoustic dimension of classroom experience? What is the role of aural experience in pedagogy? What makes an empty room into a gathering space for listening to each other? How do listening skills contribute to life long self-learning?