Listening with Darkness

Listening With Darkness

– a midnight-field-listening-session on leap day of the 29th of February facilitated by artist/research Christine Hvidt.

– exercised as part of the second week of a Testing Ground residency at Art Hub Copenhagen explore Slow Listening.

The listening with darkness sessions explores ways of listening
with and to
what is and appears
in the darkness.

Photo taken at the entrance to Sydhavnstippen (Copenhagen), location for the 'Listening with Darkness' session, before adventuring into the park and engaging with place and the darkness there.

The literal darkness — the absence of sunlight —
and the personal, internal darkness
— those suppressed, ignored, overlooked
or just slow or less loud
emotions, sensations,
feelings, experiences, thoughts and so on
that inhabits your body for the time being


I invite you to give attention and space
for what reveals itself to/with you
when you are listening
and externally


Inspired by the Norse shamanic traditions
for seeking advice or guidance
from spirits of the larger community of life,
during the dark hours,
like the Sitting rituals ( in Danish “udesidning”),
these methods brings attention to
the other natures of ourselves and other creatures


In the darkness beings and creatures
shape shift and show themselves
through other appearances
than our daylight conceptions suggest


I invite you to listen to the soundings and expressions
of known or unknown natures

Preparing sound recording equipment and turning off phones before 'Listening with Darkness' session.

With Martinique philosopher Eduard Glissant
I linger onto opacity


Opacity is that which cannot be grasped
that which is the opposite of
the transparent
reductionist Western way of understanding
that which needs solid measures
of things and quantities


Opacity means accepting the differences
and relating to the others’ differences


“Without creating a hierarchy
I relate it to my norm”


We are granted access to
a limited
somewhat fragmented glimpse of it all
We must accept the nature of limited access
to the world from our perspective


Opacity is “that which cannot be reduced
which is the most perennial guarantee
of participation and confluence”


I invite you to relate the darkness
and shadow textures to your norm


Most parts of electrical
and technology-based societies
function independently of the natural cycles
and offset biological rhythms
with sound, light and chemical pollution
Here darkness is unwanted and we seek ‘enlightenment’
and transparency of phenomena
and comfort and convenience of technological advancement


I invite you to embrace the darkness
and challenge your habitual rhythms and thresholds of comfort.

Glissant, Éduard.”For Opacity.” In Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing, 189 -194. United States of America: The University of Michigan, Press, 1997.

As an act of internal and external sonic attention,
and listening
as a gesture of lending your somatic and mindful awareness
to the place you attend to


is to give attention
and time


Giving attention to ourselves
and a place
A place with the beings and creatures
that makes it a place
Giving attention to our kindred spirits
and to others non-kindred creatures


“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity“

Weil, Simone. Letter to Joë Bousquet, 13 April 1942; Simone Pétrement Simone Weil: A Life (1976) tr. Raymond 4

Instruction for Listening With Darkness:

find the time to spend at least 3 dark hours
or however much time you can afford to give
more or less
Ideally more


Equipement and preparation:
wear proper clothing to feel comfortable
for the amount of time you spend with the Darkness
Fast a few hours before the session
if possible


In the fields/outdoors:
Put you phone on silent mode and
try to resist the urge to check it
Don’t look at it during the session
your night vision takes around 30- 40 minutes
to proper establish itself


Find a place that feels inviting and welcoming to you

Sit comfortably on the ground or where it makes sense in your place


Settle into the space:
Let your body and mind settle into the place
Do rounds of body scan with attention to the different parts of the body
Listen to what feelings, sensations, emotions, or thoughts are there
Be with them
Acknowledge them
But dont dont go deep into them
Let them be and move your attention on to next point


At some point you might feel at better ease
and more calm with the body and mind settled in the space
You might be ready to direct your attention to the external world
and to be open to what comes to you as sensed experience
or as thoughts of the place


For the rest of the session:
I invite you to listen to
what is and appears in the darkness and
to listen with the darkness
with focus on the following four aspects:

* Listening to your internal darkness
— whatever that might be for you

* Listening to the exterior darkness
— the community of what is present with you

* Listening — to the sonic or even musical aspects
of yourself and the place your are with

* Listening — attuning to and being available
to what expresses itself to you and
giving these expressions attention with your full being


You might intentionally shift focus or
let yourself be carried by what come to your attention.


There is no right way.
These are only suggestions


I invite you to listen in the same position in stillness and
explore what appears to you in the darkness
through these different modes.


I invite you to explore the sensations of discomfort
However to a certain limit:
most importantly listen to your body
If something is extreme or unbearable for you
do what you need to go through the session


Ending the session:
Slowly begin to move and get back to your own pace
If you feel like it, thank the place for hosting you
The session is concluded by an immediate reflection
either written down or sound recorded

If you choose to follow the instructions and
experience this sessions,
feel very welcome to share any reflections with
me at

Thank you for your attention and time

This text is partly from Christine Hvidt’s masters thesis “Some principles for Symbiotic Practices” (MA Artscience, 2023) and an excerpt from a contribution to “the Slow Technology Reader“ (forthcoming, Valiz 2024)

A 10 minutes excerpt from the sound recording from Sydhavnstippen as location for the Listening With Darkness session: