Day 1 of the Here Hear project
Artist Betsy Lohrer Hall spent 3 hours listening without talking at Angels Gate Cultural Center.
In the artist's words: "Since it was a social situation rather than a solitary experience, it was harder than I thought it would be. I anticipated being quiet and calm, but struggled against my self-imposed restriction. I wanted to convey warmth with words, but couldn't. I anticipated people talking to me, but discovered that if I was silent, people either whispered to me, said only a few words, or stayed silent themselves. The deliberate withholding of my words felt un-generous, miserly. It also felt lonely. It left me craving connection, valuing the feelings that kind words and shared language bring.
The experience reminded me of being immersed in a culture where I didn't know the language, except for a few simple words. Even when I understood what others were saying, I couldn't truly participate in the conversation.
I caught a tiny glimpses of what it might be like for those who cannot speak at all for one reason or another. It filled me with awe and admiration." - Betsy Lohrer Hall April, 2022