forces still at play

I once experienced a group learning session that ended with an attentive silence which the teacher disrupted by an over eager closure. It spoilt the mood. It did get me thinking about how and where silence is appreciated.

Months later I came across the notion of joint attention and thought there is something to here about group interaction and the place of silence. The most basic form of joint attention is shared gaze.

What I recall the group experiencing was less a "shared gaze" and more a communal awareness of the environment which was highly conditioned by the group's listening.

What I noticed may be becoming rarer …

Social ecologies of listening are in transition. Spaces and practices of shared listening (the cinema, the street, the market, the bus) are vying for space with the apparatus of individual attention economies and emerging mores of containment and control (the earphones, the mall, the metro). Urban subjectivities are shape-shifting in the uneven fabric that global modernity weaves across new and changing city spaces.

From the fascinating Delhi Listening Group
… or simply as rare as it ever was and needing time and opportunity to emerge. Occasions and structures do arise for shared listening. And sometimes what is needed is being attuned and relishing the sound-filled space (even in the quietest moments) — and growing comfortable and not rushing in to fill group silence — recognizing forms of plenitude.

And so for day 1733