The Listening Project (2009-2011)

In the spring of 2009 Sound Threshold relocated to London. The past two years of research focused on The Listening Project, a programme of public events curated in response to the sites of three distinct London-based venues: The Showroom, Flat Time House and the Freud Museum.

The aim of The Listening Project was to encourage collective listening as a practice and to create a discourse through and around listening. The programme comprised a series of listening sessions and sound interventions developed in close dialogue with the invited artists and the curators of each host venue. Audio interviews, group conversations, sound seminars, text based performances and sound installations, have created a context in which artists, cultural practitioners, curators, writers, researchers, musicians and the public have shaped and shared moments of truly collective listening recollected here in Season II.

The first session of The Listening Project, Veiled Conversation No. 9, was developed in collaboration with Pedro Lasch and hosted by The Showroom in the Spring of 2010.
Veiled Conversation functioned both as a space and a device for collective listening by inviting all participants and listeners to share in an active engagement with a recording of John Cage as well as to bring their own stories and thoughts about the social production of sound.

An overloaded transmission from a quasi-personal stellar source, the second listening session co-curated with Richard Thomas (Resonance 104.4fm) at Flat Time House, involved the orchestration of a plurality of voices and sounds recorded and transmitted from the former house and studio of late British conceptual artist John Latham.

Radio Schreber, Solilques for Schziophonic voices by Richard Crow – the third listening session hosted by The Freud Museum – was prompted by a series of meditations on the hidden voice, the phantasmic voice, the recurring theme of 'hearing voices' in sonic and literary works. This theme was unravelled through a sonic embodiment of the seminal text by Daniel Paul Schreber, Denkwürdigkeiten einen Nervenkranken (Memoirs of My Nervous Illness).

While the undercurrent theme of Season II - The Listening Project seemed to have raised the subject of the voice, the project acted as a bridge between diverse listening based practices such as sonic art and music, writing, psychoanalysis, teaching and radio broadcasting.

Finally, each listening session looked at site as a place of historical significance (e.g. as an archive document) and not only or purely as a sonic architecture. As a result Sound Threshold has extended its research from site, sound and text, to the topic of the archive and the practice of 'documentation as production'.

This new strand of research will be further developed into a third Sound Threshold season which will question the notion of the 'active archive' by using key documents from Sound Threshold's archive.


Lucia Farinati, London, May 2011