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Announcement
March 9, 2022

Ages of Receivership: On Generous Listening

Institute Art Gender Nature, FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel

Design: Studio Ana Domínguez.

As part of the symposium series Womxn in the Arts and Leadership. On-site and online (livestream). Auditorium D 1.04, FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel.

With Caroline Bergvall, Merve Yeşilada Çağlar, Bill Dietz, Nina Emge, Jazmina Figueroa, Virna Gülzari, Ayesha Hameed, Kate Lacey, Nour Mobarak, Dylan Robinson, Aura Satz, Stas Sharifullin, Li Tavor & Nicolas Buzzi, and Hannah Weinberger. Moderated by Chus Martínez and Quinn Latimer. Research associate: Marion Ritzmann.

The symposium is open to the public and will be held in English. More information on the program and links to the livestream available online. In memoriam of Maja Naef.

“Who, if I cried out, would hear me?” So Rilke begins “The First Elegy” in his Duino Elegies, in which he ecstatically delineates his belief in being an “open receiver” to the world. “But listen to the breath, / the unbroken message that creates itself from the silence. / It rushes towards you now.” And it does, it rushes toward all of us now, in the fact of a word—listening—that is suddenly inescapable, continually coined and communicated and traded, and in the form of a multitude of practices—artistic, ecological, activist, technological, theoretical, pedagogical—in which listening is both methodology and ethical framework. So it is that we have come to call the spring master symposium at the Institute Art Gender Nature HGK FHNW, in Basel, Ages of Receivership: On Generous Listening. Held over the course of two days, March 16 and 17, 2022, the symposium will be devoted to forms and ethics of listening—at once active, deep, decolonial, generous, public, poetic, or otherwise—and how they are entangled with aspects and ideas of poetics, coloniality, gender, spectatorship, critique, and nonhuman worlds.

Is listening a form of both poetics and political action? It is. Moreover, it is often employed as an ethical engagement with pedagogy and cultural critique. While hearing has, until recently, often been described as a passive act, listening is broadly understood as an active way of engaging with the other, with oneself and with nature. If certain assumptions subscribe listening and storytelling to womxn and elders, the broadcasted voice—all agency and production and new technologies—is often gendered as male. This symposium will address such ancient and recent ideas about the politics and gender of sound, through histories and performances of audio, and technologies of communication and reception, while addressing listening as a key methodology in reaching goals of political, ecological, and artistic equity, from decolonization and democracy building to issues of mental health. Through lectures, performances, artist talks, and conversations, the symposium will survey current artistic practice and research engaged in creating active forms of response that begin with the receiver-speaker relationship, that is, an address to another.

Ages of Receivership: On Generous Listening, continues our semiannual series of master symposia at the Institute Art Gender Nature, begun in 2018 with Promise No Promises! and whose most recent iteration, called Seeing Into the Heart of Things: Earth and Equality Within Indigenous and Ancestral Knowledges, was held in late 2021. In each of the symposiums thus far, current artistic practices are examined and articulated within the framework of questions of contemporary import, be they political, theoretical, ecological, emotional, linguistic or other. Presented in collaboration with the Vuslat Foundation, Ages of Receivership: On Generous Listening, will continue to advance this conversation through listening itself, that is, as an open and permeable approach to the world and its human and nonhuman inhabitants. Established in 2020, Vuslat Foundation endeavors to create awareness about generous listening—hearing beyond words—understanding it as an essential element of each of our connections and constellations. That said, we’d like to invite our students and the larger public to add their ear and receivership to this special gathering in Basel—we hope you’ll all listen in.

Ages of Receivership: On Generous Listening is dedicated to the memory of art historian and critic Maja Naef who lived and worked in Basel.

The symposium is kindly supported by Vuslat Foundation.

Thank you!

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