Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with questions of social life and cultural agency, using sound, performance, text and sited constructions. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working in public and with others. This leads to interventions and performative installations, archival work, and micro-actions aimed at the sphere of the (un)common and the unlikely. He is also an active lecturer working with institutions around the world addressing questions of auditory culture, sonic and spatial practices, the voice and the politics of listening. Since 2011 he works as a Professor at The Art Academy – Department of Contemporary Art, University of Bergen, Norway. Current research projects focus on citizen practices, sonic agency and auditory knowledge, and the aesthetics and politics of invisibility.
A timely exploration of whether sound and listening can be the basis of political change.
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.
Lecture in the framework of the symposium "Sound and Participation" organised by Q-O2 and Ictus at KASK Gent:
Brandon Labelle: On the Production of a poor acoustics 4: