Testing Ground: The Listening Body: Field Notes

Testing Ground: The Listening Body: Field Notes

To both summarize notes from the testing ground week and poetically share these with the guests at Listening Event III, different ‘field notes’ was collected from our notes and conversations…

I lay down, just at the edge of the road, on the cobblestones arranged in a line to demarcate the border between road and not-road, 

I sometimes lie in places like this in my dreams. 

I become cobblestone. Letting the sounds and directions of moving bodies, of bicycles, cars and footsteps pass through me. I stay like this for a long time. Feeling the different directions, paces and distances colliding inside me. 


I open my eyes. See the routes of the birds, their different speeds, heights and curves. The slow, steady movement of the clouds across the sky. 


Feel how all these different bodies travel over, next to and through me. 


I turn to the side and lay a hand on one of the cobblestones in the road, feeling how its coarse surface becomes soft against my flesh. 

I see the underside of cars and trucks going by right next to my laying body. 

Letting the whoosh reverberate into me as I stay connected to the cobblestone, who receives all bodies, routes, directions and paces.

As a greeting I let the tree form my cheek. It becomes flat and my mouth is being pulled out from its normal position.

It holds my body. 

It knows what my body needs. stretching it, making it impossible for it to be a computer-body.  

Cigaret lit, lady buck and seeds lies dead in the hip socket of the tree

It stands in its own fence of asphalt, formed from the inside

On display on the outside for its beauty 

I support the tree by holding the ground that holds the tree. 

Someone might have peed here.

I have felt held and embraced by a tree. I have embraced back. I have embraced bark, skin, a barrier. I have been reminded that nature holds me and needs holding by me.


I know that the left cheek is what you greet a friend welcome with. Like the left hand is what you stay grounded with. I have been reminded of hosting. Of the perceiver, of caring and caring for. Of curiosity.


I am reminded of the difference between wanting to be seen and wanting to be.

The different natures of presence.



In the landscape of a harp with invisible strings. Between archways and bared ground. Bared existence, you curve soft and inviting. Deep under a wavy foundation of concrete, your roots’ stretch. Your story. Your anchoring.


With a view of secret corridors, at the sound of the invisible string melody, your curves coquettishly break with boxes and angles. Watched by civilisation. Overlooked by the same.


Hard work’s bumbling behind a facade. It has nothing to do with you. Distance releases you from responsibility.


A hidden tattoo in the armpit. A bruise on your cheek. An unexpected balance point. A life. Thank you for the invitation.

A journey. A delicate encounter with a half forgotten passage, where paint is cracking undisturbed as the pigeons hold a secret court and the asphalt softens under my hand as invisible strings are plucked, staccato. Shadow, coolness, introversion. 


A fast, long journey spanning worlds to land with the trees, standing there in multi-stemmed invitations. My cheek against the bark. All gentle and tender. 

Surrendering to being held and discovering that the pain of the hard branches against my flesh, muscle and bone, disappears when I relax and make myself soft. 

To hold the body of the tree. All the way down into the roots and up to the highest twigs. 


To lie with the traveling bodies and feel how time, movement and perspective shifts in my body. 


The playful curiosity of spying on those that spy on me and discovering an attentive presence in a seagull, a container and a chef behind the window.

I lie on the crust of the earth. 

Waiting like a child on other worlds to appear

being looked at

taken care of

exposed objects listening observing

The discomfort in my body from being a body almost lying on the street, from a body lying 5 meters above the ground on a see-through metal floor pushing my fear of heights is replaced by a trust in the collective body. 

Invitation: To the Symphony


Welcome to the Symphony. Please slow down and enter in silence. Find a seat that feels welcoming to you. Take your time, we’re not in a hurry. Choose a side and a perspective you wish to experience the symphony from. Take your seat. Place one hand on the surface beneath you. Lean back if there’s something to lean on. Close your eyes. Listen to the strings of the invisible harpe. Invite the other instruments in. Listen to the Symphony.

These field notes have the format of questions, as it was difficult to share the actual experiences and observations. There can be a gap between language and other non-verbal experiences.

These questions might pass on some of the sentiments or wonderings that are lingering in the aftermath…



Rather than fixating our body as an isolated entity, how may we treat ourselves as bodies always in the process of going visiting in this world – always in movement, in transformation, in exchange… How does that affect and change the way we are in the world?


Rather than asking, where does an individual body stop and a collective body start – we might wonder in what ways we are always differently separated and connected but never the same…


If we treat our bodies as a fleshy archive – an archive of the flesh – what would we find in such an archive? What traumas, forgotten wisdom, crazy movements and ancient sediments? What would be uniquely stored in our archive of the flesh, and what information are we all carrying around? 


How may we let the body surrender – how may we surrender to being a body – and how may a surrendering body take us somewhere different, let us be something different?


In what way is both comfort and discomfort a central experience of the body – and how may we find support and allyship in the body when attempting to listen to what we disagree with, to what might hurt us… 



Nana Francisca furthermore said a beautiful sentence, which ends these questions nicely. 

She said: 

‘The body is an ongoing question to the world’