CONVERSATION IS THE ART / by Meg Saligman

As a painter, I frequently contemplate edges:

Assembled example of edges in my paintings.

Assembled example of edges in my paintings.

At our Dialogue Den, the edge resurfaced, this time through conversation instead of paint: How do edges define conversation? 

I observed that edges in meaningful conversation are layered atop one another. The same is true in a dynamic painting.

An edge is a separation. Though it can be blurry and textured, it is a distinct turning of one thing to another. The pronounced edge of conversation is the interchange between speaking and listening. Surprisingly often, this edge is ignored, which becomes an effective way to erase conversation. Although it sounds simple, preserving this edge in our Dialogue Den filled a void at the quarrelsome political conventions.

By establishing the edge between listening and speaking at the onset of each Dialogue, participants could more freely engage in the subtle complexities between listening and speaking. These complexities made for more thought-provoking edges...

At what point is listening and not replying do we become complicit in the other person's expressed beliefs?

If I'm formulating my next comment while I'm supposedly listening, am I truly listening? Or is this a normal (yet incredible!) ability of human cognition and social coordination?

Does conversation end when the last speaker finishes speaking? Or do conversations fade away at different rates?

Is the I must have the last word mentality ever a good thing?

Back and forth next to the Dialogue Den in Cleveland.

Back and forth next to the Dialogue Den in Cleveland.

- Lizzie Kripke, Co-Principal Artist at Meg Saligman Studios