the act of speaking is examined in a number of theories so far. but what about the act of listening, or the pause? in her book "the other side of language" italian philosopher gemma corradi fiumara points out that western philosophy and art was dominated by "the assertive tradition of saying" but that "we have little familiarity with what it means to listen."
maurice blanchot includes in his "the infinite conversation" the act of listening indicated by a pause when the dialog jumps from one interlocutor to another. for him a dialogue happens “when two people speak together, they speak not together, but each in turn: one says something, then stops, the other something else (or the same thing), then stops. The coherent discourse they carry on is composed of sequences that are interrupted when the conversation moves from partner to partner […] The fact that speech needs to pass from one interlocutor to another in order to be confirmed, contradicted, or developed shows the necessity of interval.”
departing from blanchot's notion of the necessity of interval within a conversation and fiumara's arguing for the acknowledgement of the role of listening as a creative practice the question of an "aesthetics of listening" comes up. we should learn to begin with listening.
by putting together a reading list the class could explore theories of listening and find out about "the aesthetics of listening".
maurice blanchot: the infinite conversation (1969).
gemma corradi fiumara: the other side of language (1990).