Saturday, September 17, 2022 from noon to 3:30

In The Voice of Things, Beth Archer Brombert, translating Francis Ponge, writes that “water collapses all the time, constantly sacrifices all form, tends only to humble itself, flattens itself onto ground.”* Recent events around the agency and legal representation of water have been framed by a larger conversation on climate change, extractivism, and constructed borderlands that limit mobility for humans, wildlife, and capital. Often, activism gives voice to the agents that cannot speak. From eco-politics to questions of territory, the fate of the Earth is increasingly relegated to the legal embrace of personhood as a rights-giving concept, but how should that person be, what are the implications for public policy, and what kind of labour theory subsets the shift? In the context of Lou Sheppard’s exhibition Rights of Passage was an opportunity to explore connections between topological and political surfaces that foster ‘passage’ and to discuss the complex narratives of rocks, water, and political dynamics through sound, reading, and listening.

This multi-form workshop included a listening session of an excerpt of Raven Chacon’s Silent Choir (Standing Rock): a 2016–17 artwork which recorded protesters at Standing Rock in North Dakota, followed by a discussion on the natural rights of water and rocks and a close and critical reading of Do Rocks Listen?, a 1995 essay by Elizabeth A. Povinelli that “juxtapose[ed] Western and Belyuen ways of understanding what happens when humans act in the natural environment and their economic and politico-jural consequences.” It culminated in a collective participatory performance of Pauline Oliveros’ Rock Piece, 1989, at the nearby Black Creek. Together, we explored the ethical and legal responsibilities of interacting with natural forms and the entanglements between rocks, water, labour, memory, and morphology.

The workshop began at the AGYU and ended outdoors.

Xenia Benivolski curates, writes, and lectures about sound, music, and visual art. Her writing appears in art publications and academic journals such as e-flux journal, Artforum, Art-Agenda, Infrasonica, and Flash Art. She is editor and curator of You Can’t Trust Music at e-flux.com, a research project connecting sound-based artists, musicians, and writers to explore together the way that landscape, acoustics, and musical thought contribute to the formation of social and political structures. Xenia contributes to the Worker as Futurist project at Lakehead University.

*Francis Ponge as translated by Beth Archer Brombert, The Voice of Things (McGraw-Hill Book Co, 1972), 50.

 

See also

Rights of Passage LP

Rights of Passage LP
vinyl LP
Oct 2023

Lou Sheppard “Rights of Passage” Vinyl LP launch

Lou Sheppard “Rights of Passage” Vinyl LP launch
Launch and performance
28 Oct 2023

Timothy Morton: Haunting Weirdness

Timothy Morton: Haunting Weirdness
Online lecture
23 Nov 2022

Lou Sheppard in conversation with Michael Maranda

Lou Sheppard in conversation with Michael Maranda
Online conversation
8 Nov 2022

Reciprocal Landscapes: Jane Mah Hutton

Reciprocal Landscapes: Jane Mah Hutton
in-person lecture
25 Oct 2022

Streams~

Streams~
Nuit Blanche
1 Oct 2022

Do Rocks Listen?

Do Rocks Listen?
Workshop
17 Sep 2022

Scores

Scores
Rights of Passage
Summer 2022

Film stills

Film stills
Rights of Passage
Summer 2022

Exhibition views

Exhibition views
Lou Sheppard
16 Sep – 3 Dec 2022

Opening night

Opening night
Lou Sheppard
16 Sep 2022

Lou Sheppard: Rights of Passage

Lou Sheppard: Rights of Passage
exhibition
16 Sep – 3 Dec 2022

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