Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ideas for how to start a listening project

Start a conversation about actively listening.
Talk about different listening styles.
Interview someone you know or don’t know about listening.
Actively listen.
Listen to yourself/ other people listen.
Listen to your body.
Listen with your body.
Eavesdrop on a conversation.
Take a field recording of your day; go home and listen to it with your eyes closed.
Listen to your friend’s stomach with a stethoscope.
Let someone finish his/ her thought or sentence before adding yours.
Listen to music – imagine it is food.
Add your ideas to this list.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Have you seen

The Deer Hirsch by Wolfgang Tillmans Book of Listenings?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Where has the Fairtrade Coffee Book of Listenings been?

Leave your comments here

The Traveling Books of Listening

As part of the Listening Project there are now 6 books of listenings in circulation
The books have names

-The Fairtrade Coffee Book of Listenings
-The Gut Suitcase Book of Listenings
-The White Mask Book of Listenings
-The Breaking Hearts Book of Listenings
-The Deer Hirsch by Wolfgang Tillmans Book of Listenings
-The Big Fish Book of Listenings

These books will be in circulation from one person to the next – going wherever they get handed to – being added to along the way and hopefully at the end of January 2007 I will get an e-mail from whoever has one of the books and they will be returned.

I’ve been actively listening for 28 days

– my memory has improved.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Google developing eavesdropping software

They know all about you...

These were articles sent some time ago about the information that google stores and would like to store.
It got me thinking though about a further step to listening - what happens afterwards? What is the relationship between listening, and then re-telling? Where does the boundary between public and private lie? Do we really say what we mean? Should we always say what we mean? Should we say it anyway and understand that the listener can read between the lines to hear our emotions rather than our words? And does this mean that listening is more than just opening your ears?

Google developing eavesdropping software

Every time you use an internet search engine, your inquiry is stored in a huge database. Would you like such personal information to become public knowledge? Yet for thousands of AOL customers, that nightmare has just become a reality. Andrew Brown reports on an incident that has exposed how much we divulge to Google & co


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Have you heard/ seen any Listening Projects recently?

What's in a name?

If you google “The Listening Project” – there are about 864 pages
Here are some other Listening Projects...

The Compassionate Listening Project is a US based non-profit organization dedicated to Jewish-Palestinian reconciliation. Our Compassionate Listening ...www.compassionatelistening.org

Listening Project- Sponsored by Rural Southern Voice for Peace
The US & International Listening Project Center provides Listening Project resources, consultation, training and trainer referral, and offer creative tools ...www.listeningproject.info/ - 9k - Oct 16, 2006

Welcome to the Listening Project
Provides information and training to people interested in using listening to help others explore attitudes towards the war in Iraq.www.publiclisteningproject.org/

The Elephant Listening Project
A project which assesses the potential of acoustic monitoring for evaluating the abundance and health of elephants living in the dense forest.www.birds.cornell.edu/brp/elephant/

Jazz-Sax.Com/Real Book Listening
Real Book Listening Project -- article related to Cds, Jazz, and Jazz.www.jazz-sax.com/jazz/06/05/24/1630253.shtml

Justice and Witness Ministries: The Listening Project
Although we prefer face-to-face meetings, below is a brief form to enable you to participate in the Listening Project. Take a moment to offer your ...www.ucc.org/jwm/listen.htm

Listening Project on Security and the Cost of War
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace, ...www.afsc.org/pittsburgh/listen-security.htm

Latino Listening Project - KJZZ
Using the power of public radio to build cross-cultural bridges of communication and understanding by sharing Latino perspectives on issues affecting our ...kjzz.org/support/fundraising/latinolisteningproject -

A Listening Project: Taking Victims & their Advocates Seriously
Prepare fresh natural foods in all seasons with Simply in Season a cookbook by Mennonite Central Committee. Buy it and other natural food cookbooks and ...secure.mcc.org/mccstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=334 - 28k - Oct 15, 2006

Interfaith Listening Te ams
Our partners around the world. have been invited to share their experiences of responding. to the challenges of Christian-Muslim ...www.pcusa.org/peacemaking/intl/IntFaith.pdf

disinformation/ compassionate listening project
The gateway to the underground - news, politics, conspiracy and weirdness.www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/article/id2361/pg1/index.html

The Listening Project
Please take a few minutes to complete a short listening test. ... Speech Project now available added: 18th Apr 2005 ...www.eurocran.org/news.asp?sid=544&contentID=1565

Restorative Justince Online
The Listening Project sought to include the voices of victim advocates in the development of restorative justice practice. The article below is an excerpt ...www.restorativejustice.org/editions/2003/April/listeningproject

Speaking and Listening Project Evaluation Form
British Stammering Association Stuttering Stutters Stammers Speech Problems.www.stammering.org/cds.html -

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

follow-up chat

Neil/Bob: have quick question
its about how to document it (the listening project)
and how not to drive it too much
one way might be to document the changes in yourself
a kind of subjective experiment

it comes back to that previous point we talked about
the other day
if you just implement it and observe
then you are standing back to look
but if you document the change in yourself
you are not only standing close to listen
but are taking part and feeling
that's one thought

the other is...

...to document the changes in other people.
we were both surprised at how we noticed our listening was
in some ways self-centered
this is social practices
so some impact on society is probably a good thing, no?
effecting a change n' all that?
but it's not free from mediation
which i think you were interested in doing

will to power

from one of the listening interviews...

Communication between two people is a complex nexus of psychological and discursive interaction. Though I would be skeptical in invoking Nietzsche, as I don’t understand his philosophy well, I am reminded of the idea of the Will to Power, that as humans we are constantly trying to manifest our personality. When we talk, we at least want recognition of the validity of our thoughts and feelings, we want not only to be heard, but recognition that it is okay to voice these thoughts. When we are not heard, we feel ignored or socially marginalized.

internet chat about listening

Neil/Bob: Listening is an interesting form in the contemporary political climate
you have the patriot act which allows the government to listen in on its people
yet abroad the US is doing most of the talking
part of its role as a global hegemon I guess
I wonder what would happen if it really listened to what people are saying
what would it hear?

me: This is good - can I use this? You don't have to be named as the speaker

Neil/Bob: go ahead -def no need to name me
I am already fearful of the new powers in the US!
maybe that listening vs hearing contrast is one you could work with
my feeling is that the govt is enabling new powers for listening in
but it isn't really hearing what is being said
if you listen closely people may be saying
we're hungry
we want to live our way of life
with our own culture and religion
as with all politics it is how we balance all those things

me: who is speaking?

Neil/Bob: good question
what isn't being said?
me just talkin out my butt

me: no – this is good dialogue
I've been looking more at people's personal experiences with listening-
though the reason for it is much broader
and it IS in relationship/response to the current political climate

Neil/Bob: one of the things that Ralph's book impressed upon me was that
"standing close to listen" thing
in Western rationalism we try to objectify
"standing back to look"
it is a way of accessing information by standing back to remove ourselves and feeling from something - like scientists
it is our cultural belief that doing so yields more knowledge
and allows us to create high-rise buildings and all that stuff of modernity
governments based on rational-legal authority etc
but Ralph's thesis is that this is only one way to access knowledge of the world
of the many others there is the idea of "standing close to listen"
what is it that people are saying
you can see this eVERYWHERE
one of the problems of DEvelopment Studies
which I was interested in
is that it has this cultural superiority
that Africa is poor because they don't know what they need, they don't have the Western rationalist scientific knowledge
if you stand close to listen, and ask locals what it is they need for their villages, farms etc
though they won't use the same terms
(marginal cost, average cost, etc etc)
they will have an acute understanding of what they need
though it may be expressed in terms of religion, culture, environment
or in a mystic language or some kind
we just aren't listening to them
for example, some farmers on the African continent have been raising cattle etc for dozens and dozens of generations
why should a western theorist come in and tell them what they need to do to improve their situation
they almost certainly know

my turn to listen now....


Neil/Bob: can I share one more thing along same lines?

me: (no reply- was distracted from chat greeting my roomate)

Neil/Bob: herro?
I musta ranted her to death...
or you're getting more wine
so I'll rant a little longer until you come back
Ralph has something in the section on Marxism which stuck
It was that since Marxists focus on the material side of things

me: sorry flatmate just got home

Neil/Bob: you gotta go?

me: no - keep going
rant away

Neil/Bob: okay - a short one
Marxists identify with the inherent exploitation of capitalism
when the tread in their shoes
they hear the voices of the children who sewed the stitches with every step
another kind of listening
kinda like listening to things
or products to hear their representative stories
or something like that

me: yes! I'm interested in that kind of listening to things - to histories of things
or sounds that things make or

Neil/Bob: it could be that you don't have to actually hear a sound, in order to listen to something
the idea of histories could be explored too
as you said

me: exactly - was just typing that

Neil/Bob: maybe think of the concept of a "narrative"
the shoes themselves don't speak
but one can follow their story
or genealogy

me: your shoes squeak

Neil/Bob: we are to some extent the products of our upbringing
yes they squeak!
so if you talk to your grandma
you can hear the words she chooses as the sum total of the narrative of the family history
her values etc come from this lineage
can't articulate this clearly, but you can see where Im going
I can't think every thought
I can't be "objective" 100%
so when I talk (and rant) what I say is reflective of that cultural, or genealogical history
whether I am conscious of it or not
that is a kind of narrative - hearing the things that I don't say, but are audible anyway
I'll shut up now

me: no, don’t - I love it
i feel like i just want to take the role of learner in this whole project
i realize that i project my own thoughts and ideas quite a bit
this project is getting me to listen if not anything else

Neil/Bob: yes - I am TERRIBLE at it
but wish to improve

me: you are better than most

Neil/Bob: flatterer

me: being back in American - I've found people easy to talk to - good conversationalists even, but not always the best listeners
conversation and listening doesn't go hand and hand - or doesn't seem to as I initially thought

Neil/Bob: does that indicate that we are increasingly desperate to be heard? kinda ironic really

me: possibly. yes
ironic, yes

Neil/Bob: maybe (since it is late, and you have wine) you could just do an exercise with a bit of paper looking at the discourse of this
write down several key words on a piece of paper
then looking at each in turn
see which words tend to cluster around them
good fuel for ideas

me: hmmm - good idea - i started something similar in the studio
hey - shall i call you "no-name" in the record of this dialogue?

Neil/Bob: or could use an alias

me: what will your alias be?

Neil/Bob: ah, you can choose
did you know that gmail can record these chats?
I think I have that feature switched off
but it is probably set to on for you as a default

me: ah- maybe ill do that - for now I'll just copy paste
I'm collecting conversations
they are all candid
some e-mail
or just notes after a conversation

Neil/Bob: that will be interesting
something that has interested me
is how dialogue manifests itself
for example
why some parts of this dialogue are overtly (edited out)
some might be clearly masculine or feminine
what is the reasoning behind the different flavours/aspects/manifestations etc
might be off the topic for your project though

me: to be continued

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The title of this project could be The Effective Active Listener of Irrelevant Information.

Anonymous has missed the point
An active listener removes all the filters of self and becomes an empty space in which words drift in and float around painting colors of emotions Convert the listening component of conversation into music (which is a holistic experience the notes and harmonies being like the symbolic signs of words ) the sum of which compounds into an emotional response

Neil Furby Wellington NZ

One of the reasons that I drive a diesel car is
because every time I start it, I have to listen for a
handfull of seconds. When you turn the ignition on,
you wait for the glow plugs to heat up and then switch
off. The solenoid makes a very quiet "click" .

IMHO, listening has got nothing to do with
preconceptions or ideas. Waiting for an entrance into
a converstion is not real listening. Listening is more
about the "small, still voice within"- the one that
rarely gets heard by anybody. shouted down

Nobody is listening to anybody or anything. Robert
Crumb drew it.



In my conversations with people so far in regards to listening in our society, I have leaned that many people feel that they have to tune out most things that are happening around them in order to focus. A few issues relating to listening have been raised again and again in my conversations so far with the public. I have learned that we listen, actively listen, with a goal in mind – we listen to learn (about something in particular), listen to gain certain information (about something relevant or interesting), listen for what we can comment on or critique, listen because the person speaking is relevant or interesting. One point came out that I found interesting is that listening sometimes happens to fill the gaps between when we can say something. How about engaging in irrelevant listening for the sake of listening?

good listeners are:

social workers
nature people
people hiding from someone/something
people looking for someone/something





I listen to learn
I listen to hear
I listen because I need information to survive

Monday, October 02, 2006