LIstening Station
Listening Station
Make a call. Read a poem.
The Centre at the Calgary Library
Strangers calling strangers
Make a call. Read a poem.

Centre for Communication and Poetry Research

Installation / Performance /  Workshops / Saint John, NB > Third Space Gallery > 2017 > ​

Installation / Performance / Community Engagement / Workshops / Toronto, ON > Art on the Danforth > 2016 > ​

Installation / Performance / Workshops / Calgary, AB > Intersite: Festival of Visual Arts > 2015 > ​

The Centre for Mass Communication and Poetry Research is a pop-up research centre that invites the public to participate in the Centre’s research by calling strangers over the phone to read them poems.

 

The Centre for Mass Communication and Poetry Research is interested in the hypothesis that anxieties elicited by both poetry and telecommunications can be overcome and even experienced intimately. Telephone communication and poetry are intimidating forms of communication. Both require an intense form of listening to “get the message”- the ultimate goal of all forms of communication. Poetry is by nature an obfuscation of language intended to draw out deeper meaning from a defamialirized use of words. To engage in poetry is to enter language constructed as a labyrinth, guided by the kaleidoscopic light of a metaphor. A telephone call from a stranger, on the other hand, requires direct communication in the form of a turn-by-turn dialogue, where in the absence of body cues demand tedious transparency. Yet despite these differences, telephony and poetry are generally preceded by feelings of apprehension, anxiety, or anticipated boredom. “Getting to the message” through poetry is painful; while over the phone is just plain boring.

The Centre for Mass Communication and Poetry Research is interested in abandoning the “get to the message” goal all together to get to a deeper understanding of poetry and communication: as a means to elicit the knowledge and feeling of someone else’s presence, even if a stranger’s, even if electronic, even if brief. 

The Centre for Mass Communication and Poetry Research at Art on the Danforth 2016

In addition to the pop-up research centre, The Centre for Communication and Poetry Research collaborated with six local residents, Ronna Bloom, Myra Vargas, Shae Stamp, Hanan Hazime, Alina Tigountsova, and Sean Barrett to produce a series of poems that reflected everyday thoughts. The poems could be heard through listening stations installed in various businesses along the neighbourhood. Acting as an omnipresent ear and intervening mouth (like the telephone), the listening stations and poems amplified the inaudible stratum of internal sound within the larger sonic environment of the Danforth. To learn more vist: Art on the Danforth

Press: "Artist encourages Saint Johners to cold call each other to read poetry." by Ben Silcox // Telegraph-Journal, 2017. pp. B5.

Curatorial Statement by Emily Saab: "Cold Calling Series"

By Cathy Boyce // Third Space Blog, 2017. Web.