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Listening and Looking

Course 2015-2016


Our first encounters with art works or art events usually happen through our eyes and/or ears. However, there are many different ways in which to look at art or listen to music. Not only are we always already culturally situated and determined, individual circumstances also influence the way we experience art/music. What is attentive looking/listening and is this how we always (should) approach art/music? Is there a difference between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening? And, given the fact that our relation to art and the world is usually multi-sensorial, can we also look at music and listen to visual arts?
Although mainly theoretical, the course will also comprise visits to (sounding) arts exhibitions and/or performances in order to be able to relate theoretical knowledge to “auto-ethnographic” experiences.


  • An introduction to different ways of looking and listening, both through literature and in practice.

  • To reflect critically on leading contemporary literature on looking at art and listening to music.

  • To reflect on looking and listening from philosophical, historical, biological, and aesthetical perspectives.

  • To practice alternative ways of looking and listening to art/music.

  • To learn how to read scientific and philosophical texts on aesthetics; to practice so-called “close reading”.

Dates, times, location

Second semester, Wednesdays
Time: 15.00-17.00 hrs.
10 meetings:
First meeting: Wednesday 10 February 2016
Last meeting: Wednesday 20 April 2016
Location: Lipsius 228.

Course type

Interactive seminar.
Course is taught by Dr. J.C. Wesseling and Dr. M.A. Cobussen.




Homework assignments and multi-media essay.

Studied literature

Texts and other materials on Blackboard.


ACPA: Ir. R.T.W.L. (Rogier) Schneemann;

Dr. J.C. Wesseling:

Dr. M.A. Cobussen:


Register for this course via uSis.

For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit:
Elective courses music and fine arts