We do not listen through our ears alone. Bass can penetrate our abdomen and pulse into our legs; thunder forces our bodies to recoil; uncanny noises arrest our breathing; tinnitus produces cacophony inside our skulls; even the silent scream of Edvard Munich makes us shudder. At the same time the ear is a funnel through which the logic of a narrative or an order takes hold of us. The sounds we hear unavoidably focus our attention to their source. Philosophers and theologians speak of an inner ear that hears the voice of God, the heart, or the conscience. Even if we turn a deaf ear to the world, we can never shut ourselves off from the babble of consciousness’s stream.
How is hearing organized between shrill and soothing tones? What turns an acoustic signal into a message and a phonetic sequence into language? How does hearing guide us through the everyday? How does music carry us, noise irritate us, a scream affect us? And what do we hear when we hear silence?
Concept: Dominic Bonfiglio und Matthias Kroß, Potsdam
Participants: Aleida Assmann, Konstanz; Hans-Joachim Braun, Hamburg; Lydia Denworth, New York; Barbara Flückiger, Zürich; Tom Fritz, Leipzig; Sieglinde Geisel, Berlin; Thomas Görne, Hamburg; Morag Grant, Bonn; Helmut Kopetzky, Fulda; Julia Kursell, Amsterdam; Hein Schoer, Wiesbaden; Georg Spehr, Berlin; Hillel Schwartz, San Diego; Michael Wedel, Potsdam