Brandon LaBelle - Lecture on Nothing


reading by David Kurs / Los Angeles, 2010

total time: 54-minutes

Lecture on Nothing is a recording of John Cage’s original text as read by a deaf individual. According to Cage, silence may operate as a positive frame through which to appreciate non-musical sounds and to heighten the experience of listening: by integrating silence into his compositions, Cage sought to allow sounds of the world into the musical experience. Appropriating Cage’s text, this work aims to further explore silence as a complex signifier by giving us a voice that cannot hear itself. In doing so, the work multiplies perspectives onto the act of listening, and on the notion of being quiet. From an open space for renewed listening to forms of disciplinary power, silence and silencing can be heard to perform a complicated influence onto auditory culture.

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Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working collaboratively and in public. His artistic work has been presented at South London Gallery (2016), Liquid Architecture, Melbourne (2015), ngbk, Berlin (2014), Whitney Museum, NY (2012), Image Music Text, London (2011), Sonic Acts, Amsterdam (2010), A/V Festival, Newcastle (2008, 2010), Instal 10, Glasgow (2010), Museums Quartier/ Tonspur, Vienna (2009), 7th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Allegro (2009). Also a prolific writer, his books include Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2015/2006). He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and Professor at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway.