SONIC MATTER a new festival for contemporary and experimental music making will take over
the city of Zurich, starting 2021 (first edition from December 2-5, 2021). While championing the local music scene, the vision of curatorial team formed by Katharina Rosenberger, Lisa Nolte
and Julie Beauvais spans across disciplines and continents and beyond a four-day festival only.
SONIC MATTER is also a forum that continuously deals with time-critical topics and aims to create
a curious and committed audience through artistic as well as participatory processes. Each edition of SONIC MATTER festival is linked to the next by a year-long transterritorial and transdisciplinary laboratory, a platform for innovative convergences of sonic explorations, scientific researches and environmental studies: SONIC MATTER openlab: THE WITNESS, led by Julie Beauvais.
During its first three-year phase (2020-2023), THE WITNESS explores new perspectives
on international cooperation for sustainable development in a context of emerging challenges
and shifting paradigms in a more complex and multipolar world.
The approach tuned to 'multispecies becoming with' combines deep listening practices, sound art,
vocalities, music, conscious movement and scientific researches. Biologies and arts tie together humans and more-than-human ecologies, evolution, development, history, spiritualities, affects, performances, technologies, and more. Researchers supported by local cultural and educational institutions, exchange observations with each other and with SONIC MATTER, conduct biocentric experiments and workshops and develop sound based studies.
LOCAL & GLOBAL PROCESS-BASED WORK
Each year, THE WITNESS unites artists, scientists and local communities through common sound, anthropologic, environmental, sociologic, site-specific researches in several parts of the world:
- THE WITNESS in 2021: South America + North America + Switzerland
- THE WITNESS in 2022: Africa + India + Switzerland
- THE WITNESS in 2023: Arabic region + Russia + China + Switzerland
In three parts of the world and throughout a year, groups of researchers coordinate their simultaneous studies, share their observations and facilitate the dialogue between the variety
of sentient beings present in the field. Pauline Oliveros's 1989 composition The Witness which consists of three open strategies for listening, attuning and responding to the natural environment and to one another is the protocol guiding and organizing the researches.
SHARING THE LAB WITH A LARGER AUDIENCE
Work processes and observations are shared with a larger audience through SONIC MATTER
multimedia platform (talks, radio features, video conferences).
Closing every year long openlab, installations, sonic experiments, talks and the publication
of a catalogue are shared with the audiences of SONIC MATTER 4-day festival in Zürich.
An annual guest festival, networked with THE WITNESS and SONIC MATTER, further promotes
CAN ALL LIVING BEINGS CONTINUE TO INHABIT THE EARTH TOGETHER?
SONIC MATTER openlab rooted in Zürich, reaching out worldwide, aims to what is maybe more needed in our troubled times: discover and listen to the world’s changing messages and pass
them along to others in order to facilitate the dialogue between the variety of sentient beings.
What results in THE WITNESS is a new - and also ancient - kind of virtuosity, one grounded
in attention and an unsolipsistic relationship to another’s sonic and energetic reality.
Groups of musicians, sound artists and researchers move beyond an unquestioningly anthropocentric way of thinking.
In each location where THE WITNESS occurs more-than-humans, artists, scientists and indigenous historians engage in a science art activist worlding committed to partial healing, modest rehabilitation, and still possible resurgence in the hard times of the imperial Anthropocene
*Find more references and quotes Here +
DEEP LISTENING IS LISTENING IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY
TO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO HEAR NO MATTER WHAT
YOU ARE DOING. SUCH INTENSE LISTENING INCLUDES
THE SOUNDS OF DAILY LIFE, OF NATURE, OR ONE'S OWN THOUGHTS AS WELL AS MUSICAL SOUNDS.
DEEP LISTENING REPRESENTS A HEIGHTENED STATE
OF AWARENESS AND CONNECTS TO ALL THAT THERE IS.
AS A COMPOSER I MAKE MY MUSIC THROUGH DEEP LISTENING.
SONIC MATTER openlab 2021-2022-2023
Multispecies open laboratory, site-specific experiments with humans and more-than-humans combining deep listening practices, sound art,
conscious movement and scientific researches in South America, North America, Africa, India, the Arabic region, Russia, China, Switzerland
01.01.2021 - 31.12.2023
SONIC MATTER festival, Zürich
Expected support and partners
Local partners / institutions
Sapara Nation of Amazonian Ecuador
Labverde Manaus, Brasil
Harvard University/Department of Music, USA
Pnea Foundation, USA
Mount Tremper Arts, USA
The Ministry of Maat, USA
The Deep Listening Foundation community, USA
Renssaler Polytechnic Institute, USA
Black Mountain College - Museum and Arts center, USA
Portland State University - departments of music & theater, school of art & design, environmental science, forestry management, Institute for Tribal Government, USA
Mill City - Santiam Hearts to Arts & Santiam Canyon Community Chorus, USA
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde & Chachalu Museum & Cultural Center, USA
Oregon Historical Society, USA
Forest Service - Pacific Northwest branch/ Oregon Department of Forestry, USA
McGill University, Canada
Concordia University, Matralab, Canada
Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology - ICST, ZHdK, Switzerland
+ Novas Frequências, Brasil (SONIC MATTER 2021 guest festival)
TBD, South Africa
TBD, Central Africa
TBD, South India
TBD, North India
Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology - ICST, ZHdK, Switzerland
+ Nyege Nyege Festivall (SONIC MATTER 2022 guest festival)
Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology - ICST, ZHdK, Switzerland
+ Irtijal Festival (SONIC MATTER 2023 guest festival)
THE ANTHROPOCENE MARKS SEVERE DISCONTINUITIES;
WHAT COMES AFTER WILL NOT BE LIKE WHAT CAME BEFORE.
I THINK OUR JOB IS TO MAKE THE ANTHROPOCENE
AS SHORT/THIN AS POSSIBLE AND TO CULTIVATE WITH
EACH OTHER IN EVERY WAY IMAGINABLE EPOCHS TO COME THAT CAN REPLENISH REFUGE.
Open a space for a biocentric experiments and enter into dialogue with one’s environment through the use of listening strategies - thinking of the strategies less as musical methodologies as more as invitations to develop a kind of virtuosic musical attunement to one’s human and non-human environment, with no distinction between the two.
Encourage collective intelligence and transdisciplinarity by creating transnational teams of artists, local inhabitants, researchers, scientists focusing simultaneously on studying the invisible structures, dynamics and interdependencies present in the field and making them perceptible. Balanced exchanges and mutual opportunities (learning from the knowledge / skills of others) are the core dynamics of THE WITNESS.
Observe transformations, mutations, degradations, preservation, restoration due to or in reaction to the anthropocene.
Nourish the diplomacy of interdependencies, the subtle multi-species dialogue where humans and nonhumans are equally heard. Start a conscious exchange, where humans and all other species in presence are part of a system of cooperation.
Document conscious exchanges through texts, interviews, photos, video documents, drawings, recordings...
Share discoveries and observations with a much larger crowd during and after the laboratories via a multimedia platform and via the publication of a catalogue, installations, sonic experiments, concerts or performances during SONIC MATTER 4-day festival.
Become bridge builders between places and different knowledge bases and different communities, different people. With more bridges, we’ll be better able to surface the collective knowledge and wisdom to be able to all participate in creating the solutions that we’re going to need at local level.
STEPS AND CALENDAR
September to December 2020
- Consultation and coordination with the partners : SONIC MATTER curatorial team, Pro Helvetia's liaison offices, guest festival, institutions and partners
- Encounters with already existing teams of science-art-activism researchers in Switzerland, North America, South America together with Pro Helvetia's antennas and annual guest festival
- Selection of the local documentation teams : video artists, photographers, illustrators, writers and translators
- Formation of the openlab teams
- Localisation of the site-specific researches
- Precision of the contact zones (common themes of researches)
- Planning of the year-long research, the 3 weeks focus on each lab and the monthly online labs meetings open to anyone and everyone
- Organisation of the platform of communication between the labs and of the documentation and sharing of the process
January to March 2021
- Launch SONIC MATTER festival and multimedia online platform
- Launch THE WITNESS simultaneously with all participants and partner institutions in Switzerland, South America and North America
- Start THE WITNESS in three locations simultaneously
- Organise in each location the work plan of the groups made of artists, scientists, local communities and researchers
- Select and organize the methodology and listening strategies specific to each location
- Inventory the invisible structures and interdependencies present in the fields
- Document the process and share with the other research groups and a larger audience through monthly encounters / discussions / material sharing via SONIC MATTER platform
SITE SPECIFIC RESEARCHES
April to September 2021
- April : focus on laboratory 1 in Bolivia
- May : focus on laboratory 2 in Ecuador
- June : focus on laboratory 3 in USA
- July : focus on laboratory 4 in Canada
- August : focus on laboratory 5 in Switzerland and Brasil
- Experiment simultaneous and coordinated researches nourishing dialogues within the ecosystems, using: listening and improvisational practices, bioacoustics, acoustic ecology, soundscape studies, bodily perception of vibration, movement and time, history, anthropology... Pauline Oliveros's 1989 composition THE WITNESS which consists of three open strategies for listening, attuning and responding to the natural environment and to one another is the main guideline inspiring and organizing the researches.
- Generate texts, compositions and multimedia material making visible / audible / perceptible, the transformations, mutations, degradations, preservation, restoration dynamics
- Share experiments and observations monthly with all head researchers (on site if researchers can travel, online if travelling is impossible) and larger audience monthly via SONIC MATTER platform
- Document the process ans share with the other research groups and a larger audience through monthly encounters / discussions / material sharing via SONIC MATTER platform
October to November 2021
- Develop and transpose the experiments into open talks, compositions, sonic experiments, installations or performances that could be shared with the audiences of the next SONIC MATTER 4-day festival in Zürich
- Writing, translation, editing and sharing online (links to maps, sounds, images, videos, drawings, talks, best of monthly online discussions) THE WITNESS catalogue collecting all observations, discoveries and creations made by the 5 groups of researchers throughout the year
SHARING WITH SONIC MATTER AUDIENCES IN ZURICH
- Concluding every year long research, THE WITNESS catalogue is published and distributed to all partners and participants of THE WITNESS and to SONIC MATTER audiences
- Installations, sonic experiments, talks created by the openlab teams are shared with the audiences of SONIC MATTER 4-day festival in Zürich
- The annual guest festival, networked with THE WITNESS and SONIC MATTER, further promotes the exchange
GIVEN THE CHALLENGES POSED BY LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THE PROLIFERATING ARRAY OF OTHER KINDS OF LIFEFORMS THAT INCREASINGLY SURROUND US – BE THEY PETS, WEEDS, PESTS, COMMENSALS, NEW PATHOGENS, “WILD” ANIMALS
OR TECHNOSCIENTIFIC “MUTANTS” – DEVELOPING A PRECISE WAY TO ANALIZE HOW THE HUMAN IS BOTH DISTINCT FROM
AND CONTINUOUS WITH THAT WHICH LIES BEYOND IT
IS BOTH CRUCIAL AND TIMELY.
RESEARCH & DOCUMENTATION TEAMS + ANNUAL GUEST FESTIVAL
Guely MoratóSound artist and cultural manager; founder and director of International Sound Art Biennale Sonandes
+ Novas Frêquencias (guest festival)Chico Dub - Curator, artistic director Festival Novas Frequências (guest festival 2021)
Yashas ShettyContemporary artist, biohacker and musician
(Art)ScienceBLR and Sonic Research Organization (ISRO)
"And it is this very disruption, the breakdown of old habits and the rebuilding of new ones, that constitutes our feeling of being alive and in the world. The world is revealed to us, not by the fact
that we come to have habits, but in the moments when, forced to abandon our old habits, we come to take up new ones."
"Comment donner la voix aux non-humains sans que celle-ci ne s’exprime à travers des humains ventriloques? " ...
"L'étude de l'usage inter-espèces des icônes et des indices offrirait ainsi un moyen d'inclure humains et non-humains à l'intérieur d'une sémites plus englobante et fournirait la pierre angulaire
d'une anthropologie 'au-delà de l'humain. "
"Etant donné les défis posés par la nécessité d'apprendre à vivre avec une variété toujours plus grande de formes de vie - qu'il s'agisse d'animaux de compagnie, de mauvaises herbes, d'animaux nuisibles, de commensaux, de nouveaux pathogènes, d'animaux 'sauvages', ou de 'mutants' technoscientifiques -, il est non seulement crucial mais aussi urgent de développer une manière précise d'analyser dans quelle mesure l'humain est tout à la fois distinct de, et en continuité avec, ce qui se trouve au-delà de lui."
_Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human
"Deep Listening is listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, or one’s own thoughts
as well as musical sounds. Deep Listening represents a heightened state of awareness and connects to all that there is. As a composer I make my music through Deep Listening."
_Pauline Oliveros, Deep listening, a composer sound practice
"This book argues that, to survive, we need to relearn multiple forms of curiosity. Curiosity is an attunement to multispecies entanglement, complexity, and the shimmer all around us."
"Landscapes shimmer when they gather rhythms shared across varied forms of life. Shimmer describes the coming in and out of focus of multispecies knots, with their cascading effects.
Yolngu cosmologies inform us; juxtaposed with the stories made available from many arts and sciences, vernacular and academic, we learn the liveliness of landscapes.
Landscapes enact more-than-human rhythms. To follow these rhythms, we need new histories and descriptions, crossing the sciences and humanities."
"As artists, we conjure magical figures, weave speculative fictions, animate feral and partial connections. We necessarily stumble. And try again. With every mark, difference haunts and struggles
to appear anew. Postcolonial historian Dipesh Chakrabarty points out that consideration of humanity as a geological force troubles the distinction between natural and human history, forcing us into
a new kind of historicity. The deep time of geology, climate, and natural science is collapsing into the historical time of human technology. Anthropos has become an overwhelming force that can build
and destroy, birth and kill all others on the planet. In the new histories and politics that we must form—and as the contributions to Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet demonstrate—we must share space with the ghostly contours of a stone, the radioactivity of a fingerprint, the eggs of a horseshoe crab, a wild bat pollinator, an absent wildflower in a meadow, a lichen on a tombstone, a tomato growing in an abandoned car tire. It is these shared spaces, or what we call haunted landscapes, that relentlessly trouble the narratives of Progress, and urge us to radically imagine worlds that are possible because they are already here."
_Elaine Gan, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene
"The Anthropocene marks severe discontinuities; what comes after will not be like what came before. I think our job is to make the Anthropocene as short/thin as possible and to cultivate
with each other in every way imaginable epochs to come that can replenish refuge."
"It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts,
what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories."
"Our task is to make trouble, to stir up potent response to devastating events, as well as to settle troubled waters and rebuild quiet places."
_Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene
"Hard times are coming, when we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies
to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We'll need writers who can remember freedom - poets, visionaries - realists of a larger reality.... We live in capitalism,
its power seems inescapable - but then so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art."
_Ursula K. Le Guin, Excerpt from Ursula K Le Guin's speech at National Book Awards
"But I think we are called to go beyond cultures of gratitude, to once again become cultures of reciprocity.”
"Science can be a way of forming intimacy and respect with other species that is rivaled only by the observations of traditional knowledge holders. It can be a path to kinship."
_Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
"Par "crise de la sensibilité", j'entends un appauvrissement de ce que nous pouvons sentir, percevoir, comprendre, et tisser comme relations à l'égard du vivant. Une réduction de de la gamme d'affects, de percepts, de concepts, de pratiques nous reliant à lui. Nous avons une multitude de mots, de types de relations, de types d'affects pour qualifier les relations entre humains, entre collectifs,
entre institutions, avec les objets techniques ou les œuvres d'art, mais bien moins pour nos relations au vivant. Cet appauvrissement de l'empan de sensibilité envers le vivant, c'est-à-dire des formes d'attention et des qualités de disponibilité à son égard, est conjointement un effet et une part des causes de la crise écologique qui est la nôtre."
_Baptiste Morizot, Manières d'être vivant