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Listening Sessions

by Kate Donovan

The listening sessions will take place as audio streams, which can be accessed here: https://frbb.out.airtime.pro/frbb_a. Headphones are recommended. For those requiring closed captions, an option will be available via Zoom and you could - if you want - place your hands on the speakers to feel the vibrations.

Listening Session I: Nomadic Listening

with Budhaditya Chattopadhyay

A live listening session and reading from the book The Nomadic Listener introduces an augmented book on migration, contemporary urban experience, and sonic alienation. The work critically engages with the idea of sensing the city through a mode of poetic and contemplative listening. The book is composed of a series of texts stemming from psychogeographic explorations of major contemporary cities, such as Copenhagen, Berlin, Brussels, Leipzig, The Hague, Graz, London, Kolkata, Vienna, Delhi, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Amsterdam, New York, Paris, and others, through situated writing and field recording. Each text is an act of contemplative listening, where the artist/author records his surrounding environment and attempts to attune to the sonic fluctuations of movement and the passing of events. Each corresponding sound attempts to trace these nomadic interactions in unedited field recording. What surfaces is a collection of meditations on the minutiae of life movingly interwoven with the author’s own memories, associations, desires and reflections. The listening session and reading from the book are entwined to augment urban sensing and sonic experience that draw up a tender map of contemporary cities, and the often lonely, surprising, and random interactions found in urban navigation and place-making.

Listening Session II: Parasites

with Janna Holmstedt

This is not for you to see, this is for you to bear and to hold – as a leaky vessel, permeable, embraced by a sonic skin that both receives and transmits. Can we do this? Can we for a moment share space and participate through this mediated and delayed presence made available to us through technological extensions and fleshy bodies? In its most radical sense, hospitality involves giving oneself over to a stranger. I am a parasite. We are para-sites.

The prefix para- expresses the condition of existing alongside. This unavoidable distance sets a series of differences in motion. In language, as in storytelling, we are always on the side, wrestling with the differences and the parasitic relations generated by this condition. I embrace the parasite as a way to resist illusionary oneness, acknowledge power relations, yet remain open to the possibility of being with, being relation.

Michele Serres points us, in his book The Parasite (2007), to three different kinds of parasites: the biological parasites, living organisms that physically attach themselves to and feed off their host. Then, there are social parasites who provide entertainment in order to be welcomed as a guest at the table, as in the well-known figure of the travelling storyteller. Lastly, there are the technological parasites. It is both striking and telling that the French word for noise, or static, is the same as the word for parasite. In the information network it is not always clear who is the parasite and who is the host. My data might be your noise. Your message might disturb my signal. Now, think of "me" and "you" in more-than-human terms, and vast tangled networks of technological and ecological relations unfolds.

What I can offer is a parasite, or a network of parasitic relations. Para- is on the side, it is not on the thing, it is relation. The voice is a parasite too, the bodiless voice brought to you in this session is in desperate need of bodies to host it. Thank you for inviting me in.


Thanks to Free Radios Berlin Brandenburg for support.