Depending on the artist, images and sounds of the work are available, or only the introduction of the work is available.
The protagonist of Momo, a renowned novel by Michael Ende, is a girl who possesses what modern mankind has lost. The mysterious ability of this girl that is admired, or perhaps feared, by the people around her, is being able to listen deeply to others and enable them to regain their sense of self.
It is not only limited to the voices of human beings that we listen to. Take a moment to put down what you are doing, refrain yourself from thinking, and try to listen to the sounds around you for several minutes. Conversations you cannot clearly hear, the sounds of leaves swaying in the wind and something falling, a remote noise of engine, etc. - the list of the sounds you hear will be endless. As time passes, you may find that the range with which you can describe what you heard is limited. There are so many things that you cannot recognize although you must have heard them. The world is filled with sounds. Countless numbers of unheard voices echoing.
In our world, we face unexpected happenings and unfamiliar knowledge and experiences that seem foreign to us often times. John Cage was an artist who was deeply aware that humans live their fate that is quite complicated and filled with accidents. We realize how rich a listening experience is through his works. Cage believed that we, as listeners, could live out such a world of contingency.
Auditory activities have been practiced in a variety of fields not only in art, but also in science, politics, medicine, and education. Many practices and trials have been conducted in diverse settings such as anthropologists' fieldworks on unfamiliar places and cultures, investigations on politicians through oral histories, and efforts for liberation from the repressive relationships between doctor and patients or teachers and students, based on the examinations of language and politics. By focusing on the roles of speech, voice, and stories, method of facing the complex world have been invented from practicing fields.
Aside from the institutionalized comprehension and appreciation of works of art in museums and concert halls, these practices may be related to the fact that various art festivals and projects that involve a wide range of non-professional people induce activities for collaboration and cohabitation. Arts Maebashi has worked with the themes of voices, stories, and nursing care through conducting various art projects with local communities. Through these experiences, we have become aware of the importance of allowing people to accept complicated events as they are without reduction or simplification. This requires us to face non-determinism, which is completely different from how the modern romantic subject has self-sufficiently defined the roles of a work of art and the artist. In other words, the center of the subject needs to be placed outside the subject instead of one's inner self, in order for us to coexist with other lives on this earth. We hope you enjoy listening to the complex echoes of the world by experiencing these works of art that present the bountiful potential of the act of listening.