Selin Dursun, Lars Barlag, Manfred Blieffert, Ester Davanzo, Roman Gojayev, Renate Hansen, Iryna Kharlamova, Iulia Tatiana Lupascu, Simon Niemann, Desiree Pesci, Hiltrud Schäfer, Martina Spinelli, Cornelia Stertz, Dagmar von Kathen, Monika Witte and Alessia Zeni
This public art performance practice took place in the Medieval Town Hall of Osnabruck, Germany. It was where the Peace of Westphalia was signed, ending the period of history where almost eight billion people were killed. The performance was about expanding the meaning of listening to the other, opening a space of silence, a space for peace and acceptance.
"The Listeners" allowed the people of the city to come and talk, and be actively listened to. Active listening, I learned, was not only a verbal dialect but a wordless encounter with the other, a bodily interaction with the architecture and culture of the site. Listening to the 'other', without any response or judgment, lighted the heaviness of the word 'other', as it socially connotated with alienation and polarization.
"We need to listen to each other, more than ever. We need to listen to seniors, women, young people, children, to immigrants, and to refugees. We need to listen to workers who feel betrayed by the industry. We need to listen to voters who feel betrayed by politicians. Right now, in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, millions of people feel invisible, unheard." Ernesto Pujol
People talked to me that day.
Shared secrets in languages
I spoke so little of.
Most importantly, on the same day, 300 hundred years later after the peace treaty,
we intentively listened again.