SONIC MATTER - THE WITNESS

CONTEXT

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. 

ABSTRACT

Each edition of the SONIC MATTER festival in Zürich is linked to the next

by a year-long transnational and transdisciplinary laboratory,

a platform for innovative convergences of sonic explorations, scientific researches

and environmental studies: SONIC MATTER 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, conscious movement and scientific researches. Biologies and arts tie together humans and nonhuman 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 inhabitants through common sound, anthropologic, environmental, sociologic, site-specific researches

in several parts of the world:    

- THE WITNESS 2021: Switzerland + South America + North America 

- THE WITNESS 2022: Switzerland + Africa + India 

- THE WITNESS 2023: Switzerland + Arabic region + Russia 

In three location 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. 

SHARING THE LAB WITH A LARGER AUDIENCE

Work processes and observations are shared with a larger audience through the SONIC MATTER multimedia platform (talks, radio features, video conferences).

Closing every year long THE WITNESS publications, installations, sonic experiments, concerts, talks, performances 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 the exchange. 

OUTCOMES

THE WITNESS 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 nonhumans, 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 and Capitalocene. 

*THE WITNESS is inspired and nourrished by the latest works of, amongst others: Eduardo Kohn, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Anna Tsing, Donna Haraway. 

THE WITNESS 

2021-2022-2023

Multispecies Open Laboratory, site-specific experiments with humans and nonhumans combining deep listening practices, sound art, conscious movement and scientific researches

in Switzerland, North America, South America, India, Africa, Russia, the Arabic region

Production 

Sonic Matter, Zürich

Support and partners Canton du Valais, Pro Helvetia - Fondation suisse pour la culture, Pro Helvetia COINCIDENCIA, Swissnex San Francisco, Pro Helvetia New Delhi, Pro Helvetia JohannseburgPro Helvetia Moscow, Pro Helvetia Cairo

                           

Coordination                                                            

Julie Beauvais conducts the Openlabs. Together with SONIC MATTER curatorial team,

she is in charge of organizing partnership between SONIC MATTER and Pro Helvetia’s antennas. 

Each year, Julie proposes to SONIC MATTER curatorial team the next fields of study and teams

of researchers. She follows closely the process in each location and facilitates the communication between the three labs. Together with SONIC MATTER curatorial team, she organizes the monthly interactive talks, radio features, video conferences open to the public as well as the organization of live interventions post-lab in Zürich during the 4-day festival.

Creative team, groups of researchers / associated institutions 

2021

Julie Beauvais / SONIC MATTER, Switzerland

Claire Chase / Harvard University, USA

Eduardo Kohn / McGill University, Canada

Chico Dub / Novas Frequencias Festival, Brasil (Guest Festival)

2022

Julie Beauvais / SONIC MATTER, Switzerland

Xxx, India

Xxx, Africa

Nyege Nyege Festival, Uganda (Guest Festival)

2023

Julie Beauvais / SONIC MATTER, Switzerland

Xxx, Russia

Xxx, Egypt

Irtijal Festival, Lebanon (Guest Festival)

TRANSNATIONAL COOPERATIONS

openlab map 3 triangles.png

THE WITNESS 2021 / TURN

LOCATIONS

Forests around Llanchama, Amazon, Ecuador

Little Island @Pier 55, New York

xxx, Canada

xxx, Switzerland

RESEARCHERS

Manari’s community in the Upper Amazon, Ecuador

Claire ChaseAmerican flutist, soloist, collaborative artist, and cultural activist, Founder of International Contemporary Ensemble New York, Professor at Harvard University

Eduardo KohnEcuadorian anthropoligist, professor of anthropology at Mc Gill University Montreal - best known for the book, How Forests Think and working with the Runa in the Upper Amazon, Ecuador

Julie Beauvais, Swiss space and movement director, co-curator and co-director of SONIC MATTER

Miya Masaoka, American composer and sound artist, Associate Professor at Columbia University.

TBD, historian

TBD, biologist

DISCIPLINES

Listening and improvisational practices

Bioacoustics, acoustic ecology, soundscape studies, bodily perception of vibration, movement and time, history, anthropology

PROCESS DOCUMENTATION

Photography, video and audio interviews, written documentation, monthly exchanges open to larger audiences via SONIC MATTER platform

CONTACT ZONE

THE WITNESS is a trans-species opera, a biocentric experiment for humans and non-humans, combining deep listening, conscious movement and "blue hour" (dawn) light. In each location in which THE WITNESS takes place, anyone and everyone is invited to participate in the experience. Every day at the "blue hour" participants meet in vast urban or natural landscapes. The Swiss artist Julie Beauvais, in collaboration with the American flutist Claire Chase and the Ecuadorian anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, leads listeners through 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. In each new location of THE WITNESS, new guest artists, Indigenous historians, researchers and scientists are invited to facilitate the dialogue between the multiplicity of sentient beings and complex histories present in the field. A conscious exchange is engendered in which humans and all other species in presence are part of a system of interdependence, cooperation and multispecies conviviality.

Read about the first test labs of THE WITNESS in Bangalore and Moscow in 2019/20 More +

THE WITNESS 2022 / RISE

LOCATION

TBD

RESEARCHERS

TBD

Julie Beauvais, space and movement director, co-curator and co-director of SONIC MATTER

TBD, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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TBD, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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DISCIPLINES

TBD

PROCESS DOCUMENTATION

TBD

CONTACT ZONE

TBD

THE WITNESS 2023 / LEAP

LOCATION

TBD

RESEARCHERS

TBD

Julie Beauvais, space and movement director, co-curator and co-director of SONIC MATTER

TBD, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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TBD, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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DISCIPLINES

TBD

PROCESS DOCUMENTATION

TBD

CONTACT ZONE

TBD

OBJECTIVES

  1. Open a space for a biocentric experiment and enter into dialogue with one’s environment through the use of listening strategies. (I like to think 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 – I think of the aboriginal Australian concept of “bir’yun” and the lack of any difference between ‘culture’ and ‘nature’.)

  2. Encourage collective intelligence and transdisciplinarity by creating teams of artists, local inhabitants, researchers, scientists focusing on studying the invisible structures, dynamics and interdependencies present in the field and making them visible.

  3. Understand better and share the discoveries about the transformations, mutations, degradations, preservation, restoration due to or in reaction to the anthropocene. 

  4. Nourish the diplomacy of interdependencies, the subtle trans-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. 

  5. Document these conscious exchanges through texts, talks, recordings...

  6. Share these discoveries and observations with a much larger crowd during and after the laboratories via a multimedia platform and via publications, installations, sonic experiments, concerts or performances during SONIC MATTER 4-day festival.

  7. 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 (TURN 2021)

September - December 2020 : Preparation phase

- Organisation of the collaboration between SONIC MATTER, Pro Helvetia, 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 guest festival Novas Frequencias.

- Localisation of the site-specific researches

- Precision of the contact zones (common themes of researches)

- Planning of the year-long research

- Design the documentation and sharing of the process 

January - March 2021 : Organisation phase

- Officially annonce SONIC MATTER festival and multimedia platform

- Launch the THE WITNESS #1 simultaneously with all participants and partner institutions in Switzerland, South America and North America. 

- Start THE WITNESS #1 in three locations simultaneously

- Organize, in each location the work plan of the groups made of artists, Indigenous historians, researchers and scientists

- Select and organize the listening strategies specific to each location

- Inventory the invisible structures and interdependencies present in the fields

- Document the process ans share with the other research groups and a larger audience through monthly encounters / discussions / material sharing via SONIC MATTER platform

April - September 2021 : Site specific researches phase 

- Experiment simultaneous and coordinated researches nourishing dialogues within the ecosystems 

- Generate texts, compositions and multimedia material making visible / audible / perceptible, the transformations, mutations, degradations, preservation, restoration dynamics

- Share with other teams 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

September - November 2021 : Transposition phase

- 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

- Document the process ans share with the other research groups and a larger audience through monthly encounters / discussions / material sharing via SONIC MATTER platform

 

December 2021

- Share the process and the works generated during the yearlong WITNESS #1 with the audiences of SONIC MATTER 4-day festival in Zürichthrough open talks, sonic experiments, installations, live concerts and performances 

PARTICIPANTS AND TEAMS

Claire Chase, Harvard University
THE WITNESS 2021
Artist
Eduardo Kohn, McGill University
THE WITNESS 2021
Anthropologist
Miya Masaoka, Columbia University
THE WITNESS 2021
Artist
Julie Beauvais
THE WITNESS 2021
Artist
Novas Frequências
THE WITNESS 2021 Guest Festival
Xxx
THE WITNESS 2021
Historian
Nyege Nyege, Jinja, Uganda
THE WITNESS 2023
Guest Festival
Irtijal
THE WITNESS 2022
Guest Festival
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NEWSLETTER

 CONTACT

 

beauvaisjulie@gmail​​.com

+41(0)787721020

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