Greetings from MWS HQ! Here's a video of Jessica Hemingway and I dancing with the monarchs at Lighthouse Field.
For the sounds, I layered several field recordings made in this same space at different times of the day; a glimpse of the sound world of the overwintering monarch set to a slowly unfolding resonator guitar tune. For the dance, Jessica and I moved in a slow-motion flutter — inhabiting the restful state of the migratory monarchs who are reproductive diapause during the winter. During the dance, I was imagining our bodies as radio antennae; recipients of some pirate radio transmissions from the monarchs:
"Empty yourself of everything // Let the mind become still."
In the fourth century BCE, the taoist sage Chuang Tzu wrote about a kind of hearing that is not limited to the ear — a listening that involves "hearing with the spirit, with your whole being." It demands an emptiness of all the faculties. He writes that with such an attentiveness, the listener learns to "fly without wings." It leads to what Timothy Morton or Alan Watts might call ecological awareness — an awareness of the unity between so-called 'inner' and 'outer.' What would happen if we learned to listen like this? What would change about our relationship to non-human beings? Thanks for listening and for tuning in!