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Brandon LaBelle

sic ! sound in context

25 April 2023 | sic ! artist talk

Pho­tos © Bran­don LaBelle

Listening, relation, community

Brandon LaBelle


25 April 2023, 8pm

Liet­zen­burg­er Str. 45
10789 Berlin
3.OG, 315

Lis­ten­ing, rela­tion, community


Expe­ri­ences of lis­ten­ing may be under­stood to weak­en us, mak­ing us vul­ner­a­ble to the inten­si­ties of world­ly con­tact and each oth­er. As such, lis­ten­ing may act as the basis for ges­tures of com­pas­sion and care, enabling forms of mutu­al­i­ty and empa­thy. Yet, lis­ten­ing may also lead to frag­men­ta­tion, rup­ture, ecsta­sy. What can be drawn from such inten­si­ties lis­ten­ing evokes ? And what forms of prac­tice might be found by way of lis­ten­ing’s rela­tion­al capac­i­ties Explor­ing ques­tions of lis­ten­ing and rela­tion­al­i­ty, I’ll reflect upon meth­ods of social engage­ment, empha­siz­ing the sec­ond cul­tures that emerge by way of son­ic mate­ri­al­i­ty and expres­sion. From such per­spec­tives, a notion of more-than-social art will be posed that may allow for oth­er under­stand­ings and imag­i­nar­ies of com­mu­ni­ty life and what it means to find partnership.

Prof. Bran­don LaBelle is an artist, writer and the­o­rist liv­ing in Berlin. His work focus­es on ques­tions of agency, com­mu­ni­ty, pirate cul­ture, and poet­ics, which results in a range of col­lab­o­ra­tive and extra-insti­tu­tion­al ini­tia­tives, includ­ing : The Lis­ten­ing Bien­ni­al and Acad­e­my (2021-), Com­mu­ni­ties in Move­ment (2019-), 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 : The Oth­er Cit­i­zen (2020), Son­ic Agency (2018), Lex­i­con of the Mouth (2014), Acoustic Ter­ri­to­ries (2010, 2019), and Back­ground Noise (2006, 2015). His lat­est book, Acoustic Jus­tice (2021), argues for an acoustic mod­el by which to engage ques­tions of social equal­i­ty. LaBelle is also a mem­ber of Errant Sound, Berlin.

Pho­to © Bran­don LaBelle