Quantum Listening

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What is the difference between hearing and listening? Does sound have consciousness? Can you imagine listening beyond the edge of your own imagination?

We love music, conversation, birdsong, running water, laughter, the wind in the trees. We like to think of ourselves as keen and attentive listeners, but when did we really give listening its due time and attention?

Quantum Listening is a manifesto for listening as activism. Through simple yet profound exercises, Oliveros shows how Deep Listening is the foundation for a radically transformed social matrix: one in which compassion and peace form the basis for our actions in the world. 

In response to the anti-war movements of the 1960s, pioneering musician and composer Pauline Oliveros began to expand the way she made music, experimenting with meditation, movement and activism in her compositions. Fascinated by the role that sound and consciousness play in our daily lives, Oliveros developed a series of Sonic Meditations that would eventually lead to the creation of Deep Listening – a practice for healing and transformation open to all. 

This timely edition brings Oliveros’ futuristic vision – blending technology and spirituality – together with a new Foreword and Introduction by Laurie Anderson and IONE. 

Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016) was a renowned American composer and performer known for conceiving a unique, meditative, improvisatory approach to music called ‘Deep Listening’®. A central figure in the development of post-war experimental and electronic music, Oliveros was the recipient of four Honorary Doctorates and many awards, including the William Schuman Award for Lifetime Achievement, Columbia University, NY; The Giga-Hertz Award for Lifetime Achievement in Electronic Music from ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Germany and The John Cage Award from from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts. During her lifetime, Oliveros was Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College.

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned – and daring – creative pioneers. Known primarily for her multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist and instrumentalist.

IONE is an author, playwright, director and an improvising text-sound artist. In addition to multiple performances internationally, she has created numerous large music theater works with her creative partner and spouse, the composer Pauline Oliveros. IONE’s memoir, Pride of Family; Four Generations of American Women of Color, was a New York Times Notable Book on its publication. She was Artistic Director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd for 15 years and is currently a Deep Listening Consultant at the Center for Deep Listening, Troy, NY. As Founding Director of The Ministry of Maåt, IONE received the 2019 Arts Mid Hudson Individual Artists Award and a Certificate of Merit from the General Assembly of the State of New York, and was a member of the Kingston Arts Commission for several years. IONE’s most recent opera TOUCH, with composer Karen Power, premiered at Irish National Opera in 2021.

Aura Satz’s work encompasses film, sound, performance and sculpture. Her work centres on the trope of ventriloquism in order to conceptualise a distributed, expanded and shared notion of voice. Works are made in conversation and use dialogue as both method and subject matter. She has long-standing interest in compositional practices, in particular those of women in electronic and electroacoustic music, under the umbrella titles of ‘She Recalibrates’, manifesting as a series of film and sound portraits, as well as drawings. She has also made a body of work centred on various sound technologies in order to explore notation systems, code and encryption, and ways in which these might resist standardisation, generating new soundscapes, and in turn new forms of listening and attending to the other.