FOREST LISTENING ROOMS (2018-19)
Stay, Listen, Organize: Bridging Appalachia’s Past and Present through Sound
A Blade of Grass Magazine, Issue 2, “Who”
Robert Sember, April 2019
A Blade of Grass Fellow Brian Harnetty is an artist who chose to stay. Born into a multi-generational Appalachian family in southern Ohio, his work as composer, musician, and sound studies scholar is both inspired by and addressed to his local communities. His commitment to place is a radical choice, in the original sense of “radical,” meaning to have roots, specifically to share the experiences and concerns of communities to which we are accountable.
Brian uses a deceptively simple practice to root himself in place and community: he listens. He has listened for close to twenty years, which has enabled him to realize a remarkably diverse collection of compositions, recordings, and writings.2 His latest work, Forest Listening Rooms, brings together residents and workers from rural Appalachian Ohio for collective, site-specific listening sessions. In these events, listening is a tool for community organizing.