Hlysnan: The Notion and Politics of Listening

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
6:30 - 8:30pm

Hlysnan: The Notion and Politics of Listening

Berit Fischer and Kevin Muhlen, curators
Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, May 17 - September 7, 2014

Curators Berit Fischer and Kevin Muhlen discuss the genesis of Hlysnan: The Notion and Politics of Listening and the challenges of presenting an exhibition on listening that is non-visual, without the musical references or visual renderings often encountered in sound projects.

Foregrounding notions of attentiveness and intent, Hlysnan emphasizes the conscious act of listening as opposed to that of hearing, or passively perceiving sound. Hlysnan understands the act of listening as agency, as gesture, as an attitude, and as taking a position. Standing in close relation to the notion of desire as well as anticipation, listening indicates a readiness to consider both content and context.

While immediate associations with listening in the arts often conjure sound art or music, Hlysnan departs from musical references and audio-visual practices to embrace sound as a representational space embodying complex symbolisms. The project considers themes of cognition and perception that include the human auditory system, the conditioning of hearing and the experience of space and temporality, the fracture between presence and absence, and intervals between silence and sound. Positing audio and sound, in as much as voice and speech, as socially constructed mechanisms of the performative, Hlysnan reconciles audio practices with contemporary sociopolitical realities. Featuring works that contemplate recording techniques, documentation, and revisions of history, Hlysnan emphasizes the extent to which audio can serve in juridical and forensic reasoning, as a tool of opposition, and to (re)activate a particular perception or sentiment.

*Confirmed artists (as of September 17, 2013): Lawrence Abu Hamdan (UK), Daniela Brahm & Les Schliesser (Germany), Clare Gasson (UK), Udo Noll (Germany), Emeka Ogboh (Nigeria), Yoko Ono (USA), Susan Schuppli (UK) and Christine Sullivan & Rob Flint (UK).

Berit Fischer is an independent curator and writer based in Berlin. Her projects include Intrude 366, Zendai MoMA (Shanghai), Other Possible Worlds–Proposals on this Side of Utopia, NGBK (Berlin), Brooklyn Waterfront Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition (New York), Dumbo Arts Festival (New York) and City Beats at BankART (Yokahama). Her writings have appeared in Afterall (UK) and be Magazin (Germany), and she is a contributor and editor forOther Possible Worlds – Proposals on this Side of Utopia and the forthcoming New Spaces for Negotiating Art (and) Histories in Africa. Berit was a co-founding curator of The Brewster Project (Brewster, New York) and serves on the advisory board of B32, a project space in Maastricht.

Kevin Muhlen is Artistic Director of Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, where he oversees an international program that often features work by young and emerging artists. In 2007 he was curator of the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, and in 2009 he was co-curator of the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Kevin ran the office of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) from 2005 to 2011, and remains an active member. He studied medieval art history at the Free University of Brussels(ULB) and University Marc Bloch (Strasbourg).

In attendance:

Nathalie Angles, Residency Unlimited
Reynard Loki, artist/writer
Justin Luke, Audio Visual Arts (AVA)
Lauren Rosati, ((audience))
Mark Tribe, artist
Audra Wolowiec, artist