Uncurating Sound: Knowledge with Voice and Hands by Salomé Voegelin
Berlin Book Launch
We are pleased to partner with Errant Sound to host this Berlin book launch of Salomé Voegelin’s Uncurating Sound: Knowledge with Voice and Hands.
20 September 2023, 19:00 – 21:00 CET at Errant Sound, Berlin, Germany (directions)
No booking required
We will welcome Andrea Götzke, Holger Schulze and Kathy-Ann Tan, who will each respond to the book through a short intervention and then enter into conversation with each other and the author, to speculate together on the institutional, material, and socio-political consequences that might arise from the possibility of a sonic (sensory) knowledge and the purposeful disorganisation enabled by uncurating.
Uncurating Sound (Bloomsbury, NY, 2023) performs, across five chapters, a deliberation between art, politics, knowledge and normativity. It foregrounds the perfidy of norms and engages in the curatorial as a colonial knowledge project, whose economy of exploitation draws a straight line from Enlightenment’s desire for objectivity, through sugar, cotton and tobacco, via lives lost and money made to the violence of contemporary art.
It takes from curation the notion of care and thinks it through purposeful inefficiency as resistance: going sideways and another way. Thus it moves curation through the double negative of not not to “uncuration”: untethering knowledge from the expectations of reference and a canonical frame, and reconsidering art as political not in its message or aim, but by the way it confronts the institution.
Looking at Kara Walker’s work, the book invites the performance of the curatorial via indivisible connections and processes. Reading Kathy Acker and Adrian Piper it speculates on how the body brings us to knowledge beyond the ordinary. Playing Kate Carr and Ellen Fullman it re-examines Modernism’s colonial ideology, and materialises the vibrational presence of a plural sense. Listening to Marguerite Humeau and Manon de Boer it avoids theory but agitates a direct knowing from voice and hands, and feet and ears that disorder hegemonic knowledge strands in favour of local, tacit, feminist and contingent knowledges that demand like Zanele Muholi’s photographs, an ethical engagement with the work/world.
Salomé Voegelin is a Professor of Sound at London College of Communication, UAL, member of CRiSAP, and an artist and writer engaged in listening as a socio-political practice of sound. She is the author of Listening to Noise and Silence (2010), Sonic Possible Worlds (2014) and The Political Possibility of Sound (2018), all by Bloomsbury Academic. Her work and writing deal with sound and the world sound makes: its aesthetic, social and political realities that are hidden by the persuasiveness of a visual point of view
Andrea Goetzke works as a curator and cultural producer in Berlin. Among her current projects is the series Rehearsing Moves on Hazy Paths at ZK/U in Berlin, which approaches the cultural space as a collective practice space for doing and relating beyond power and extraction. She co-organized the Sound Lab for Fluid Ways of Knowing, a residency and exchange for artistic research between Berlin, Augsburg and Accra. Andrea is co-founder of Music Pool Berlin, a project to support musicians on their professional paths. Among her other recent projects are Picnic FM – outdoor gatherings for collective listening, a programme on COLLECTIVE PRACTICES at Kunsthaus ACUD, and for the last 10 years she has organized Torstraßenfestival, a music festival with a focus on the Berlin music scenes. Andrea has worked as a curator and moderator with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Loop Summit for Music Makers, re:publica in Accra and Berlin, the Goethe Institute and many more.
Holger Schulze is professor in musicology at the University of Copenhagen and principal investigator at the Sound Studies Lab. His research moves between a cultural history of the senses, sound in popular culture and the anthropology of media. Together with Jennifer Stoever and Michael Bull, he is currently working on The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Sound Studies, a three-volume collection of over 150 articles by leading scholars and artists on the past, present and various possible futures of the field. Selected Publications: The Bloomsbury Handbook of the Anthropology of Sound (2021, ed.), Sonic Fiction (2020), The Sonic Persona (2018).
Kathy-Ann Tan is a Berlin-based independent curator, writer and founder of Mental Health Arts Space (www.mhasberlin.com), a non-profit project space that centers the mental health, knowledge, histories and narratives of BIPoC and minoritized artists and cultural workers. She is interested in alternative and sustainable forms of art dissemination, cultural production and institution-building committed to issues of social justice beyond a merely representational model of identity politics. Tan’s practice revolves around creating spaces for conversation, sharing and empowerment for BIPoC and minoritized communities in the arts and cultural scenes in Berlin and beyond.
Errant Sound has been dedicated to experimental work in sound related arts, including installation, performance, fieldwork, voice, radio and spatial practices. Through exhibitions, presentations, events, residencies and workshops, Errant Sound emphasizes an engagement with process and dialogue, encouraging a dynamic and diverse approach to the sound arts. As a project space, it also intends to foster social and public activities, contributing to the creative scene in Berlin and its artistic communities. However, it defines itself as a sound art gallery – not a concert space.
Reviews of Uncurating Sound
“With detours and fuzzy paths, inhalations and exhalations, rivers and their volumes, Uncurating Sound proposes the decolonial and transversal politics of sound is a matter not only for art institutions and their publics but also for a broader untethering from extractive histories and ways of knowing.”
Sasha Engelmann, Senior Lecturer in GeoHumanities, Royal Holloway University of London, UK
“Salomé Voegelin’s sensitive handling of sound topics as a post-colonial un-discipline is both observational and treatise-ish, caring and critical, and affirms the complex entanglement of curation, the cannon, the archive, and the body, and proposes a new traversing identity of sound studies. A Tour de Force.”
Miya Masaoka, composer, artist and Associate Professor of Visual Art (Sound Art) and Director, Sound Art Program MFA, Columbia University, USA
“Salomé Voegelin’s oeuvre epitomizes sonic dynamism. Her latest work is no different. In Uncurating Sound, Voegelin invites us to listen along as she troubles and blurs static lines between knowledge and curation, writers and bodies, sound and the book, reading and performing. As she converses with works by such figures as Kara Walker, Kathy Acker, Adrian Piper, Kate Carr, Ellen Fullman and Manon de Boer, Voegelin reminds us vitally – especially as we continue to emerge from pandemic isolation and sustained distancing – that we are embodied. And questions like, Who is the “I” and the ear that writes? and For whom do we write and listen? are vital to our collective flourishing. Compelling in its speculation and expansive in its sonic wanderings, Uncurating Sound will interrupt our deep assumptions about sound and knowledge as it calls for us, in all our full embodiment, to listen. Where is your body tuned now?”
Nicole Furlonge, Professor and Director of the Klingenstein Center, Columbia University, USA