20. April 2018 - 20:30

Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance

Presentation of the publication by author and artist Brandon LaBelle
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In a world dominated by the visual, could contemporary resistances be auditory? This timely and important book from Goldsmiths Press highlights sound’s invisible, disruptive, and affective qualities and asks whether the unseen nature of sound can support a political transformation. In Sonic Agency, Brandon LaBelle sets out to engage contemporary social and political crises by way of sonic thought and imagination. He divides sound’s functions into four figures of resistance—the invisible, the overheard, the itinerant, and the weak—and argues for their role in creating alternative “unlikely publics” in which to foster mutuality and dissent. He highlights existing sonic cultures and social initiatives that utilize or deploy sound and listening to address conflict, and points to their work as models for a wider movement. He considers issues of disappearance and hidden culture, nonviolence and noise, creole poetics, and networked life, aiming to unsettle traditional notions of the “space of appearance” as the condition for political action and survival.

By examining the experience of listening and being heard, LaBelle illuminates a path from the fringes toward hope, citizenship, and vibrancy. In a current climate that has left many feeling they have lost their voices, it may be sound itself that restores it to them.

Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working collaboratively and in public. Recent works include “The Ungovernable”, Documenta 14, Athens (2017), “The Night Birds (take back the city)”, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2017), and “The Living School”, South London Gallery (2016). He is the author of Sonic Agency (2018), Lexicon of the Mouth (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories (2010), and Background Noise (2006; 2015). He is professor at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen.

Brandon LaBelle
Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance
Published by Goldsmiths Press, London

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