One thousand and one gills – Listening with two ears [Série 4/5]

What exactly does it mean to “listen with two ears”? For me, this ancient expression resonates through the reflections of two writers: Roland Dubillard and Roland Barthes. Listening alert to warn of danger, says one; listening touches on secrecy, says the other. The speeches of the playwright and actor and of the philosopher and semiologist intertwine fragments of poems to compose a sound piece to “listen with two ears”.

Series “ One thousand and one gills »

One thousand and one gills is a series of five episodes devoted to the multiple and complex meanings of the verb “to listen”. What does it mean to “listen”? Does noise have the power to call us back to life? Why don’t the ears have eyelids? Listening and listening to oneself, is it the same thing? Quotations from poets, philosophers, composers, intertwined with my reflections, but also sounds and words from the sound vocabulary weave a discourse with several voices. If there are a thousand and one hearings, a thousand and one ways of describing them must also be able to be expressed. From the dreams of Gaston Bachelard to those of Roland Barthes or Peter Szendy; poems by Walt Whitman and Suzanne Doppelt, studies by futurist composer Luigi Russolo and contemporary Nicolas Frize… What secrets does listening reveal?

Why don’t the ears have eyelids?

Genesis of the idea One thousand and one gills »

“Listener” to world sounds for ten years, I have been composing sound pieces for RFI for the program “Ecouter le monde”, all shared on this page. This daily practice of listening is accompanied by readings that feed my thinking, amplify my ability to listen. By definition invisible and elusive, the sound material is difficult to describe. Often the words are missing or remain unused. With this new series, I want to listen to words chosen from my little library, intertwined with mine, in resonance with the sounds of the world. ” One thousand and one gills is an intimate and semantic exploration of the verb “listen” and the various ways of listening and saying it.

Bibliography of citations

NightEtel Adnan, translated by Françoise Despalles, Editions de l’Attente, 2017.

ancestralGoliarda Sapienza, translated by Nathalie Castagné, Éditions Le Tripode, 2021.

The right to dreamGaston Bachelard, Editions PUF, 1970.

The invisible citiesItalo Calvino, translated by Jean Thibaudeau, Éditions Gallimard, 2013.

The art of noises − Futurist Manifesto 1913, Luigi Russolo, Éditions Allia, 2003.

Study of the cultural references that surround and define the notion of noise, the actions of hearing and listeningNicolas Frize, Editions Le Plan Urbain – Ministry of Equipment – ​​1995.

lend an ear − Small conference on listeningPeter Szendy, Bayard Editions, 2017.

Margin notebooksRoland Dubillard, Editions Gallimard, 1998.

The Obvie and the Obtuse. Critical Essays 3Roland Barthes, Editions du Seuil, 1982.

Mechanic amusementsSuzanne Doppelt, POL Publishing, 2014.

Leaves of GrassWalt Whitman, 1855.

And more words gleaned and intertwined from Arthur Rimbaud, Colette, Marcel Proust, Francis James, Victor Hugo, Romain Rolland…

Thanks to Giulia Camin, head of the contemporary poetry library at ipm (Marseille International Poetry Center), for his poetic suggestions.

Production team

Design, writing, editing, mixing: Monica Fantini

Voice recording and mixing assistance: Laurence Allanic and Pascal Boungo – Creation Unit

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Both a radio program broadcast every Sunday in RFI’s news bulletin and a participatory platform, “Listen to the world” lets people hear the cultures of the world through everyday sounds. Hundreds of shows can be listened to as a podcast on this page, while the evolving platform offers sound postcards and recordings. To date, 245 sound recordings are available for free access.