The aim of the activity is to introduce to the art of deep listening and deep looking preferably outdoors. It is a practice to expand our ability to listen and look carefully around us in 360 degrees and at a great distance. The practice covering several senses is addressing the need for people in difficult health circumstances to understand that we can improve our sense of space and improve our mobility with no need to move physically. The practice is organized in 3 imaginary concentric rings from the perception of our own body to the visual and sonic horizons. Inspired by how the owls and bats map the space with sounds, the participants learn to cartography a very detailed and diverse landscape they can navigate with their imagination with great accuracy.
Find an interesting spot to sit in an open space where you can see far away and listen with clarity a great number of sounds. Draw 3 concentric rings on a paper and map the sounds you are listening around you during 15 minutes. You can draw the motion of sounds in space if you want. You can also mark the possible sounds you can not hear but you can guess with your vision. Discover what is your visual and sonic horizon at the edges of the third larger circle. Be aware on how the animals are moving in the space around you, did they go away or did they come closer ?
Step 1 - introduce about the practice by talking about how we can perceive sounds in 3D with our ears (do some research relative to binaural sounds) whisper in the back of one of the participants by gently moving from one ear to the other. Notice how the person listening to you can clearly know where you voice come from without looking at you.
Step 2 - invite each participant to sit preferably on the floor if possible and choose a direction to look at.
Step 3 - give to each participant a sheet of paper and a pen and invite to draw 3 concentric rings (you can give sheets of paper with the concentric rings previously printed). Explain that the first little central ring is about the sound their body could produce and the second concentric rig correspond to the sounds they can listen at a distance of 50 meters. The third circle correspond to a greater distance defined by the depth of the landscape, it can be from 500 m to several kilometers if you can see some mountains for example.
Step 4 - use a clock or a bell to setup a 15min alarm and clarify that the participants do not need to look at their watch or mobile phone but just focus with their senses, you will say when the time is over.
Step 5 - invite people to sit in circle during 15 minutes and comment on what they listened with their ears and with their eyes.
Step 6 - Talk again about the powers of the owl and the bat.
Step 7 - Invite each participants to share their drawing with each other after the practice, they can take pictures with their mobile and explore what the differences and what they have in common.
Step 8 - propose the discovey of a mobile phone apps:
- Merlin Bird (to recognize birds by their songs)
- Decibel X (to measure the decibels and potential noise threshold in the city)
For this practice you only need some one sheet of paper and a pencil for each participant.
The success of the activity can be evaluated by the creativity and complexity of the drawings.
If the practice has to be done indoors you can open a window and invite everyone to listen through the window and map what is going on indoors and outdoors at the same time.
rings template PDF
steps by steps video