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The theme and focus of our 2016 programme emerged from discussions initiated by David Toop in the summer of 2015. We are therefore thrilled that our final Study Week of 2016 will be led by David and it builds on some of the themes that have emerged across in the year, in particular the act of listening.

David Toop will lead a four-day study week called The little strange sound was the living voice of the brooding presence.*

“In a society organised round objective psychological measurement, the power to listen is a potentially iconoclastic one,” writes William Davies in The Happiness Industry. “There is something radical about privileging the sensory power of the ear in a political system designed around that of the eye.” Listening to others, to the world, is a start but how to organise, be active, collaborate, from the point of listening? Is listening necessarily an act of hearing audio information or is it more productive to think of it as receptivity, attention, a channel through which to break down the rigid authoritarian formats through which events are structured? 

“I’ve seen you ill with boredom,” wrote stream-of-consciousness pioneer Dorothy Richardson in Revolving Lights (1923). ‘You always think people’s minds are blank when they are silent. It’s just the other way around.” Richardson argued that everything in life, particularly relationships, was best judged by the quality of in-between silences. Silence inflates to contain even the smallest gesture; the supposedly passive and fixed ear moves outward, a gathering in; the projectile of sound is reversed, becoming receptive. 

All of these reversals are exercises in how to move across boundaries of practice, how to collaborate, to improvise, to perform without performing, to listen as a ritual without sound. Food and time will be important, along with foraging for sound, learning to work with materials and durations, inventing instruments that are not instruments, listening, reading/writing sessions and collaborative actions. 

* Dorothy Richardson, Deadlock (from Pilgrimage) 1921.  

The Study Week will take place from 5-8 December 2016

The deadline for applications is 12 midnight, Tuesday 1 November 2016

We accept applications through our Wysing Submittable online webpage. Please visit our submittable page to make an application. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact us at info@wysingartscentre.org.

We ask you to answer the following questions and provide us with the information listed, each as a separate document.

1. How is this Study Week and David Toop’s work or working methods relevant to your practice at this time? (max 500 words)

2. What do you think you can bring to the Study Week and what would you want to get out of it? (max 250 words)


A statement on your work (max 500 words)

A current CV

A selection of 6 images of your work (or other relevant material such as video, sound etc, or send a document with links to websites hosting material such as Vimeo or Youtube).

Following submission, the curatorial team at Wysing and David Toop will select up to eight participants. Selection will be based on applications received following the Call for Participation and on the information provided as described in How to Apply. The Study Week is open to musicians, artists, writers, theorists and curators.

Wysing can provide accommodation in our farmhouse should you need it, at no charge. Some rooms are for multiple use. Facilities include shared bathrooms, a shared living room and kitchen. If you would prefer not to share the farmhouse then local accommodation is available online for you to book – hotels, B&Bs and AirBnB, etc.

The Study Week is free to participants. Cooking facilities and basic supplies will be provided. If you have any specific dietary requirements, please let us know in advance.

For any specific information please call 01954 718881 or email info@wysingartscentre.org.


David Toop is a composer/musician, author and curator based in London who has worked in many fields of sound art and music, including improvisation, sound installations, field recordings, pop music production, music for television, theatre and dance. He has recorded Yanomami shamanism in Amazonas, appeared on Top of the Pops, exhibited sound installations in Tokyo, Beijing and London’s National Gallery, and performed with artists ranging from John Zorn, Evan Parker, Bob Cobbing and Ivor Cutler to Akio Suzuki, Elaine Mitchener, Lore Lixenberg and Max Eastley. He is currently Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation at the Sound Arts and Design department of the London College of Communication.

He has published six books, including Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather, and Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener, Into the Maelstrom: Improvisation, Music and the Dream of Freedom; released twelve solo albums, including Screen Ceremonies, Black Chamber, Sound Body, Life on the Inside and Entities Inertias Faint Beings; and as a critic has written for publications including The Wire, The Face, Leonardo Music Journal and Bookforum. Exhibitions he has curated include Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery, London, Playing John Cage at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Blow Up at Flat-Time House, London. His opera, Star-shaped Biscuit, was performed as an Aldeburgh Faster Than Sound project in September 2012 and in 2013 he developed a collaborative performance work entitled Who Will go Mad With Me. His autobiography, entitled Flutter Echo, will be published in Japan in 2017.