Background Listening as Doorways to Futures is a counter-intellectual art piece that resists recent cultural and sociological claims that humanity is experiencing the ‘End of Imagination’.
Whether German sociologist Harald Welzer, cultural critic Mark Fisher or writer Arundhati Roy—a widespread claim that humans fail to imagine other worlds mingles through the academic cosmos.
However, what if other worlds are out there, but just not visible with the current method of exploration? What if the empirical, data-driven and rigid scientific approach simply does not allow for other systems to be perceived, just as the image-centred world ignores other forms of experiencing? This artistic project aims to counter the claim of a loss of imagination and will exercise sound as a portal to different worlds. Our society—being immensely curated by visual imagery—pays less attention to sounds, although they can help us experience our environment in innovative ways. Sound, in contrast to images, can be unidentifiable and abstract. At the same time, sound assemblages are not just an arrangement of noises, but can be a clear reflection of social structures and opportunities— rich worldly ecologies that could make us connect with our environment. This incentivises the project to exercise listening as a method to discover different futures: not just challenging the loss of imagination, but also the etymological tie between image and imagination. Who and What? We seek out members from within and outside the CEU community: staff members, researchers, students, artists, among others. Participants will attend a two-part workshop by artist Chloe Kelly on new ways of perceiving the local environment, equipping them with a disposition helpful for discovering doorways to futures. After going into the field, the second part of the workshop will reflect on common themes and stories among the recordings, and how they have shaped our imagination. Recordings will either take place with their own smartphone or zoom recorder which are available in Vienna and Budapest. Instructions on how to use the zoom recorders will be provided. Based on the reflections from the second workshop, audio specialist Thomas Aichinger will support the postproduction of the sound collage. The sound piece will eventually be presented in experimental radio stations which conceptualise listening as intrinsic, creative practice. If this project resonates with you, please fill out the following Google form before May 21st. The first workshop will take place June 4th at 2pm CET, with the second on June 18th 2pm CET. Number of participants is limited. Other questions and inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.