Sunday, December 14, 2008

Listening To Music Listen...

After working with both of them, Neva and Gannet have shown me in a very unique way that listening, while centered within the ears, is actually a full body interaction with sound/vibration. Their entire skin is a taut drum that bounces with each sound wave. Their hands seem to be both reaching for the sound and releasing it as it moves through them. Neva's hand raises, opens and closes, as if talking or pinching. It's a dancers move. Meanwhile her eyes close or roll up, almost gone white, as if to shut off the visual world –perhaps exactly that. Gannet's hands and arms flutter, taking a gawky, exuberant flight with the sounds he adores -musical, mechanical, both. I've never seen a more pure, wild relationship to sound.

I've been trying for years to write about the Mowat-Wilson Syndrome kids and how music affects them. But I can't get past the vibrating surface phenomenon. Here however is a fragment from Jean-Luc Nancy's "How Music Listens to Itself" that struck me: "... if the term "entendre"(hear/understand) had to signify only sonorous perception deprived of form, as soon as signals from everyday life are no longer perceived, is it possible that listening can go beyond and immediate apprehension of emotional impulses, movements, and resonances confusedly dependent on acquired habits regarding rhythm and tonality (speed or slowness, major and minor modes...)?"


Again Jean-Luc Nancy:

"Music is the art of the hope of resonance: a sense that does not make sense except because of its resounding in itself...That is to say, the opening of the world in resonance, a world taken away from the arrangements of objects and subjects, back to it's own amplitude and making sense or else having its truth only in the affirmation that modulates this amplitude."

I see that affirmation, the reflection of music listening to itself, in and through the hands, arms, body, and bone flutter that Gannet and Neva share as the music begins.