Liquid Architecture is an Australian organisation for artists working with sound. LA investigates the sounds themselves, but also the ideas communicated about, and the meaning of, sound and listening.
Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. To do this, we host experiences at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, supporting artists to produce performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.
Liquid Architecture is curatorially driven and our methodology embraces research, collaborations and imaginations. We want to echo beyond local conversations, problems, debates and questions, to reverberate across media and disciplines, and so to sound out new discourses about the audible world, and beyond.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first sovereign owners of this unceded country. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and becoming.
PO Box 12315
LIQUID ARCHITECTURE SOUND INC
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Earwitness: Jennifer Stoever, M J Grant and Andrew Brooks
Cnr Oxford St and Greens Rd
UNSW Galleries is proud to present an evening of talks by and conversation with Jennifer Stoever, M J Grant and Andrew Brooks as part of Eavesdropping, a major project by Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School and The Ian Potter Museum of Art exploring the politics of listening and being listened-to.
Jennifer Stoever - The Sonic Color Line
We need to talk about listening, power, and race. Willful white mishearings and auditory imaginings of blackness—often state sanctioned—have long been a matter of life and death in the United States. However, recent events— and large-scale protests testifying to their occurrence and amplifying their impact—have temporarily halted the usual silence surrounding the violent consequences of the racialization of both sound and listening. In this talk, Dr Stoever will speak to some of these events in relation to what she calls the ‘sonic color line’, the learned cultural mechanism that establishes racial difference through listening habits and uses sound to communicate one’s position vìs-a-vìs white citizenship.
M J Grant - Harm and Harmony
Although it has come to widespread public attention only through methods used by US security agencies in the“War on Terror”, the uses of music in torture and ill-treatment are much more extensive, both in the present and in the past. In Europe from the Middle Ages onwards, many formal and informal practices of justice made reference to musical tropes, particularly the contrast between harmony and dissonance. Traditions of public shaming which folklorists and historical anthropologists have gathered under the general term “charivari” generally incorporated a cacophony of noises. Some aspects of these practices resonate in rituals used in military justice in the eighteenth and nineteenth century: military justice and discipline seem in turn to have informed the ways that music has been used both in the Soviet Gulag and, even more extensively, in the context of Nazi persecution and genocide.
Andrew Brooks - Fugitive Listening
The question and problem of who is afforded a voice — of what voices are heard as speech and what voices are heard as noise — is connected to the history of the modern subject. This lecture will consider the transformation of the voice into an ideal object that comes to represent the liberal subject of post-Enlightenment thought. Separated from the corporeal noises of the body, the voice of the liberal subject is dematerialised and transformed into a static image of sound that is both illusory and impossible. Despite its phantasmagorical nature, this idealised voice that speaks in the form of a univocal demand is inextricably linked to the liberal ideologies of possession and accumulation that underpin the logics of settler colonialism and its shifting forms of racialisation. Against the idealised voice of liberalism, we might open our ears to the noisy voices and fugitive modes of speech that sound outside the locus of the politics proper. Listening in to moments in pop music, the murmur of crowds, the urgent whispers of a gossip network, and active silence, this lecture proposes a type of fugitive listening that attends to voices historically excluded from the political sphere.Eavesdropping, a collaboration between Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, comprising an exhibition, a public program, series of working groups and touring event exploring the politics of listening through work by artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world.
"Gossip is dependent on the reproduction and performance of social practices rather than the acquisition of ‘factual’ knowledge, and so relies on and works to produce bonds of intimacy and standards of trust. This is not to claim that gossip only trades in falsity, indeed, it often trades in important factual information. Yet its performative structure — 'have you heard?' — is one that foregrounds dialogical relations, interaction and, ultimately, multi-vocality."
"We need to talk about listening, power, and race. Willful white mishearings and auditory imaginings of blackness— often state-sanctioned— have long been a matter of life and death in the United States."
"[Some] organisations and musicians who initially spearheaded the public outcry against music torture have increasingly laid down their banners in the period since Obama came to power. At best we can blame this on a lack of knowledge and understanding about the general scale of the problem. The more cynical view would be that for many who were so outraged, it was the perceived attack on music rather than on the tortured individual which was the real motivation for their actions."