We are excited to announce that our festival’s Keynote Artist this year will be Brandon LaBelle.
Inspired by the history of our Luella Massey Studio Theatre, Brandon will create a new performance installation, entitled The Church from Below.
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. Recent works include “The Living School”, South London Gallery (2016), “The Stranger Seminar”, Liquid Architecture, Melbourne (2015), and “Second Culture Session”, Tel Aviv University (2015). He is the author of 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 (2006). He lives in Berlin and is part of the Errant Sound collective.
The Church from Below
Drawing upon histories of peace movements in East Germany, the work takes the form of a performative installation housed within a former Lutheran Church, now The Luella Massey Studio Theatre. It draws out questions of resistance and emancipatory practices, staging a set of materials, recordings and documents that act as a greater scenography of the hidden and the dispossessed. In particular, the work considers how “the underground” performs to nurture the formation of a parallel polis, one that enacts an overall art of survival. From such actions, particular discourses and cultural productions are generated, from illegal publishing to a lyrical poetics of secret messages. In the case of East Germany, peace workshops and environmental protests found support through a network of socially engaged churches, which acted to camouflage dissident work. What might such histories and productions suggest in terms of contemporary crises and the desires for a new social body? How might the art of survival provide a guide for an aesthetics aimed at redistributing the sensible?
Developed in collaboration with the artistic research project Synsmaskin, Bergen Academy.
Proudly presented at FOOT 2017 in collaboration with New Adventures in Sound Art.