The presentation will pose acoustics as a critical and creative practice, one that assists in contending with dominant regimes of audibility. As such, acoustics is highlighted as a social and political issue around which particular listening positionalities are formed. In this sense, acoustics is understood as a performative arena that impacts onto articulations and gestures of self-determination. From expressions of shared rhythm and echo, to noise and the making of vibrational constructs, tensions around belonging and unbelonging may be negotiated. Following performative approaches to acoustics further allows for reworking understandings of agency as based on appearance and legibility – a making visible. Rather, the presentation considers how the capacity to shift volumes, to rework rhythms, to retune or detune dominant tonalities of particular contexts assists in nurturing one’s right to listen.
Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist living in Berlin. He is also the founder and artistic director of The Listening Biennial and related Listening Academy. His work focuses on questions of agency, community, and poetics, resulting in a range of collaborative and extra-institutional initiatives, including Communities in Movement (2019-2023), The Living School (with South London Gallery, 2014-16), Oficina de Autonomia (2017), The Imaginary Republic (2014-19), Dirty Ear Forum (2013-), Surface Tension (2003-2008), and Beyond Music Sound Festival (1998-2002). In 1995 he founded Errant Bodies Press, an independent publishing project supporting work in sound art and studies, performance and poetics, artistic research and contemporary political thought. His publications include: Dreamtime X (2022), The Other Citizen (2020), Sonic Agency (2018), Lexicon of the Mouth (2014), Acoustic Territories (2010, 2019), and Background Noise (2006, 2015). His most recent book on acoustic thinking, Acoustic Justice (2021), argues for an acoustic model by which to engage questions of social equality.