Musical listening of stalking

by sinimononen

To understand fully what stalking means to the experience of the victim, I suggest the method of musical listening. When one is listening something musically, one can grasp not only the objective points and happenings of violence, but also the invisible lines and meanings connecting these points.

Jean-Luc Nancy writes about musical listening: “Listening must be examined—itself auscultated—at the keenest or tightest point of its tension and its penetration. The ear is stretched [tendue] by or according to meaning—perhaps one should say that its tension is meaning already, or made of meaning, from the sounds and cries that signal danger or sex to the animal, onward to analytical listening, which is, after all, nothing but listening taking shape or function as being inclined toward affect and not just toward concept (which does not have to do with understanding [entendre]), as it can always play (or “analyze”), even in a conversation, in a classroom or a courtroom. Musical listening seems, then, to be like the permission, the elaboration, and the intensification of the keenest disposition of the “auditory sense.”

For Nancy, the self is defined through listening. To be is to resonate, to feel ones body. Being in the world is being part of the world, “listening opens (itself) up to resonance and that resonance opens (itself) up to the self: that is to say both that it opens to self (to the resonant body, to its vibration) and that it opens to the self (to the being just as its being is put into play for itself).”

Stalking is never only about what we see: it is also about what we hear and what we listen to. If one only looks at the objective signs of stalking (i.e. following, sending unwanted gifts and letters, phone calls, emails) one fails to perceive the rhizome of stalking (Nikupeteri & Laitinen 2013), the essence of stalking.

As Nancy points out: we cannot escape sound by closing our ears, we do not have ear-lids. When violent sound approaches the self, it will not only penetrate it and resonate in it, it will also return the sound from violated body to the violating body and connect these two. This makes the rhizome of stalking very subjectively violating, changing the experience of life in very profound way, not just in the level of concepts but also meanings of the self, being, and placing oneself among other beings (which are also connected to the violent rhizome of stalking).