Moving Through Time
This article investigates Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening exercise the Extreme Slow Walk as a mode of philosophical action or realisation of embodied knowledge. It develops a non-dualistic understanding of subjectivity by reconsidering relations between thinking and movement, and between thinker (or subject) and time as expressed in conventional notions such as ‘method,’ ‘experience,’ and ‘homeostasis.’ In contrast with conceptions of time that operate independently of perception as a regular and measurable ground for subjective experience, temporality is elaborated as a form of movement that is neither separate from nor purely internal to individual perception.
In this paradigm, temporal movement is, like walking, simultaneously horizontal—forward and backward—and vertical, with a sense of depth and height involving actions of memory and anticipation. Oliveros’ exercise is introduced through her collaboration with Elaine Summers—dancer, choreographer, and pioneer of Kinetic Awareness—and the connections her work makes with Elsa Gindler’s pioneering work in psychophysical concentration; and brings this into dialogue with the implications of John Cage’s experimental music and concern for time. Deep Listening is then proposed as a musical discipline for the production of temporal awareness constitutive of subjectivity.