October 29, 2021

Classroom: Curating Noise: Reverberations and the Polyvocal

Art & Education

Pablo José Ramírez, "What is it that we hear when we hear nothing?" 2021.

Paz Guevara and Satch Hoyt, "How to Listen? Reasons to Dance!" 2021.

Greg Tate, "Birth of Sonic Consciousness," 2021.

Amal Alhaag, "Dispossessed Notes on Dirty Work," 2021.

Cécile Malaspina, "Curating Noise?" 2021.

Curating Noise: Reverberations and the Polyvocal
Organized by Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art and sonsbeek20→24

“No longer considered only a factor of disturbance, detrimental to information like ‘static noise’ in the channel of communication, the evolving concept of noise also becomes constitutive of new forms of knowledge and of new ways of understanding organization.”
—Cécile Malaspina, An Epistemology of Noise

This special session of Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) focused on a contemporary conception of noise that builds from the idea of listening as a participatory practice. Whereas in the past noise was something to be controlled and suppressed, today noise and uncertainty are entangled with one another as key concepts in the production of contingency as a driving force of innovation, creativity, and resistance. As Reza Negarestani surmises in his essay “Contingency and Complicity,” the contingent artwork can become the basis for new interactions and dynamic processes that drive the artist to novel realizations and open up a potential of the work not assumed at its inception.

At the center of sonsbeek20→24 is an investigation of global power structures that, as a result of the drift toward digitality, have taken on increasingly nonlinear, unstable, and topologically distributed spatio-temporal forms. In the process, new plateaus have emerged, shock waves upon which extended and embodied stratifications exist as fields of immanence. “Curating Noise: Reverberations and the Polyvocal” uses the Third Havana Biennial (1989) as a model to build a self-reflexive problematic provoked by an intellectual and discursive turn in the apparatus of biennial production. “Curating Noise” engages the biennial apparatus in relation to its colonial history, as well as its economic and intellectual opportunity, through the epistemological problem of noise. Many of the published books and past curatorial efforts on noise (with a few exceptions, such as the Annual Avant-Garde Festival of New York founded by Charlotte Moorman and the San Francisco Tape Music Center directed by Pauline Oliveros) promote a linear narrative that centers European and patriarchal perspectives. As such, most histories begin with Futurism and pass through Fluxus on their way to new forms of punk and free jazz, as in the works of Throbbing Gristle and the Boredoms. While including these histories, “Curating Noise” aims to include more geographically, culturally, and otherwise diverse perspectives in order to estrange and expand the histories of noise production and understand it in radically new post-humanist ways. Considering Gilles Deleuze’s definition of puissance as “a capacity to multiply connections that may be realized by a given ‘body’ to varying degrees in different situations […] thought of as a scale of intensity or fullness of existence (or a degree on such a scale), analogous to the capacity of a number to be raised to a higher ‘power,’” we are excited by potential new forms of power, or puissance, that may be generated as a result of these shared discussions.

—Warren Neidich

Featuring Amal Alhaag, Paz Guevara and Satch Hoyt, Pablo José Ramírez, Cécile Malaspina, and Greg Tate.

View the full series on Classroom.

Classroom is a series of video programs curated by art schools, educators, artists, and writers. Each program assembles films, interviews, lectures, panel discussions, and documentaries from a variety of sources to engage with themes relevant to contemporary art and cultural production.

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