Quartet of bound transcripts and trio of chairs. Bookboard, paper, ink, white oak, 2012.


What is radical listening?

The goal of this artistic research project was to reveal impact. I explored this by contextualizing interviews with critical marginalia and extensive indexing. I interviewed strangers and then presented what mattered to me in a number of interrelated forms. In this project, these forms included margin notes, anecdotal accounts, lists, statistics and historical research. 

This project is an attempt at radical listening. You see it now in its final form, as four books and a trio of chairs. Though choosing to bind the margin notes, I want to remind the reader that this project began with two people sitting across a table from each other. The trio of chairs is a reminder of that moment. The project began as conversations between two people, evolved into an academic practice of research, ideas, and note-taking. The books return the project to the human scale. 

Unexpectedly, my interest in listening to others took me away from in-person interactions and into the quietude of the library. The notes are not impartial: they reflect my personal history, interests, and curiosities. Thus, the resulting index is both a self-portrait and a portrait of the persons I interviewed. But in those two portraits, I see a profound kind of fraternity. The world does not need more evidence of disconnect.

Photos by Matthew Miller