Listening Carefully

Carsten Wergin 

In this contribution, I draw on entangled ethnographic moments recorded in October 2015 in Heidelberg (Germany) and May 2017 in the Kimberley region in Northwest Australia. I argue that respectful and careful listening (to others) is a crucial skill through which to inspire radical hope. Commonly rendered invisible by an overemphasis on representationalism, in particular ill-defined ‘opportunities’ for economic development, my aim is to bring to the forefront practices of sonic engagement with/in the world as significant performative means to counter large-scale industrialization proposals.

How do you define radical hope?

As that which can stem from (radical) collaboration and co-becoming fostered by listening carefully.

How do you see radical hope emerging or playing out in your case study?

  1. In the truths of myths and storytelling that contest the dwelling of allegedly objective matters of fact,
  2. In the sonic intra-actions of diverse collaborators and their value regimes that hint towards new forms of onto-epistemic partnership.

In the video below I speak about how to address these issues ethnographically, with reference to my work in the Kimberley (Northwest Australia):

  • Carsten Wergin (2017) How Can Australian Indigenous Experience Change Western Perspectives of the World? Latest Thinking (Open Access Video Journal), LT Video Publication, DOI:
  • The film Naji (2015) is set at the Kimberley coast and shares a story about Bugarrigarra (Creation Time) in Northwest Australia:

Selected Readings