Listening has always been at the centre my creative process. With listening, I don't just mean the physiological act of hearing sound. Listening is a state of embodied resonance. Listening is about getting beyond projection, to a sensory experience of energy, including sound. In the space of resonance, information can be exchanged through attunement. But if we're caught up in attempting to decipher meaning in an experience, we lose the potential of communication and relationship, and just sit on top of the actual resonance. To really listen beyond the surface is a surrender and an allowance to receive and be received. It's a choice of awareness.
In this way, listening may be the simplest yet most essential of creative acts. A place to begin from, before responsive action. Listening is also political — in a world that is suffering due to intense fragmentation, listening is a path of embodiment, relationship, decolonization and re-membering what has been scattered.
Listening is at the heart of my land (and water)-based, experimental pedagogy workshops and socially-engaged performance pieces. Through activities involving storytelling, rhythm, play, deep listening (pioneered by Pauline Oliveros), sound creation, mirroring, authentic movement, graphic scoring, memory, mapping and improvisation, my workshops intend to place participants in relation to their environment, and inspire deep communication, relationship and expression.
I have worked with the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, Mikw Chiyâm and the Cree School Board, the RHYTHM program for youth with disabilities, at public schools such as the We'koqma'q Mi'kmaq School in Cape Breton and Charles P. Allen in Bedford, and with arts organizations such as the Centre for Art Tapes, Rebel Girls Rock Camp and the Music Liberatory. I have also been applying these skills in sound creation for community-engaged film projects with the Quiver Arts Collective in the First Nation communities of: Millbrook and We'koqma'q in Nova Scotia, Pasqua and Standing Buffalo in Saskatchewan and Metepenagiag in New Brunswick.
Photos by Nigel Quinn, Katherine Knight and Lindsay Dobbin.