AboutSound delivers a dynamic phenomenal weave in and around the individual body, creating points of contact with others while always already disappearing. Its invisible and immaterial nature enables forms of identification by also unsettling any form of static representation. Sound moves in and through us to immerse the body in energetic motion that is equally social and politically charged.
Brandon LaBelle's Notes Toward a Sketch of a Sonic Body presents us with a listening experience that aims for this sonic complexity. Comprised of two works, the exhibition consists of audio recordings of bodies contending with aspects of silence, language, music and dance.
The first project, The Sonic Body, is a collection of audible traces of dancing bodies. Working with a group of participants, LaBelle recorded them under a variety of conditions: listening to music through headphones and dancing in response; placing microphones around a space and providing wireless headphones so participants could move to the sounds they were making; and finally, asking participants to acoustically explore sound through their movements, without any form of electronics. The different approaches outline an energetic territory determined by listening. The recordings form acoustic identities, highlighting dance as a heated sonic. The Sonic Body is a work that aims for a total embodying of sound, as a sensual micro-event.
Complementing The Sonic Body, LaBelle's version of Cage's Lecture on Nothing is presented. The project is an audio recording of John Cage's seminal text as read by a deaf individual. According to Cage, silence operates as a positive frame to appreciate non-musical sounds, and to heighten the experience of listening: by including silences within his compositions, Cage sought to allow the sounds of the world into the musical experience. Appropriating Cage's text, this work aims to create an ambiguous space of silence, to query the edges of listening. How does silence perform for those who cannot hear? And how might this particular voice locate us as listeners? The project explores the concept of silence as a complex signifier. From an open space for renewed listening to forms of disciplinary power, silence and silencing perform an unsteady influence onto auditory culture.
Brandon LaBelle is an artist and writer. His work addresses the relation of the public and the private, formal and informal cultures, sociality and the narratives of everyday life, using performance, sound and sited constructions as creative supplements to existing conditions. This results in situational projects that create forms of intervention, acts of translation and archiving, as well as installations aimed at the sphere of the common.
He collaborates within the urban working group, Surface Tension, and the collaborative team, e+l. He is an active lecturer in the fields of social practices, performance and sonic art, and was recently featured at the conference SCL 2110 in Santiago de Chile. He also presently serves as a jury member for the Transmediale Award, Berlin (2011), and is currently Professor in new media at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Norway.
Brandon LaBelle Notes Toward a Sketch of a Sonic Body is supported by the Arts Council England.