Academy - Singapore

Loss Attunement

August 9 - 12, 2023: For the Listening Academy’s 2023 iteration in Singapore, we explore losses: known, unknown, anticipated and historically sedimented, and the seen and unseen. Through a series of workshops, we attend to concepts such as the acousmatic (Chong Li-Chuan), aphantasia (Jevon Chandra), and the unsayable (Jill J. Tan and Alecia Neo), through methods which include sound walks, embodied rituals, and contemplative inquiry (Kristina Mah). Across programs, we seek to move beyond normative hearing, seeing, and sensing. We ask: What is knowing, feeling, making, hearing in process? How do we come to knowledge through/ of silence? How do we engage in processes of attuning to the environment, unclotting coagulated wounds, and healing without teleological expectations? 

: All sessions are held at Dance Nucleus Studio, unless stated otherwise. 
Wed, 9 Aug
10.00 am - 1.30 pm: Listening Circle / Participant sharing with an introduction by Brandon LaBelle 
5.00 pm - 8.00 pm: Chong Li-Chuan
, We Are Going On A Soundwalk

Lecture Performance (60 minutes), Soundwalk (60 minutes), Debrief & Dinner (60 minutes) 
8.30 pm - 10.00 pm: Brandon LaBelle
, presentation and Open reflection on the concepts of acoustic care and acoustic justice (60 minutes) with the screening of video Deaf Script (Brandon LaBelle / Octavio Camargo), 2022, 12:00 min. 

Thu, 10 Aug 
Participant Workshop: Offered by Beverly Yuen, Resonating Echoes: Unlocking the Art of Listening (90min workshop, 30 min debrief) 
3.00 pm - 5.00 pm Kristina Mah, Creative Research Through Contemplative Enquiry Workshop (120 minutes) 
5.15 pm - 7.15 pm Participant Workshop: Offered by Yifan Wang
Solar Listening (Intro: 15 mins; DIY Workshop: 60 mins; Collective Discussion: 45 mins) Max. participants: 8, observers allowed. 

Fri, 11 Aug 
1.00 pm - 4.00 pm: Jill J. Tan and Alecia Neo, Unclotting Sensing; Embodying Sedimented Histories of Death Workshop (180 minutes) 

Sat, 12 Aug 
4.00 pm - 5.30 pm: Jevon Chandra
, Tour and chill @ National Gallery Singapore 
Meeting point: Calm Room Level B1 of the City Hall Wing, in the Spine Hall. Feel free to approach any of our Front-Of-House staff if you need assistance in finding the room.
Visiting of Calm Room residency and Hutan art installation by LittleCr3atures® x Jevon Chandra x Lynette Quek 
7.00 pm - 9.00 pm: Jevon Chandra
, Ways of Not Seeing [max 15 participants, observers permitted] Workshop (90 minutes), Sharing (30 minutes) 
9.00 pm till late: Closing Reflections & Open Studio

Participants are welcome to bring reflections, artworks, artefacts, traces from their research and practices to the studio to share and be in conversation with others. 

Chong Li-Chuan | 
Chong Li-Chuan (b.1975) is a Singaporean composer who is passionate about philosophy, culture and the arts. Li-Chuan's career in music and sound started in the late '90s, working as a composer and sound artist collaborating with practitioners in theatre, dance, spoken word, architecture, filmmaking, design and visual art. His creative output includes music composition, sound design, site-specific art, installation, free improvisation, and collaborative work exploring conversations to be had across different modes of expression. 
Workshop: We Are Going On A Soundwalk 
A soundwalk is a walk with a focus on listening to the environment. Please wear comfortable footwear and clothes for walking. We will walk in a single file with a distance of about 1 to 2 meters between you and the person in front. Li-Chuan will be leading the walk. There will be 3 stops along the walk. The duration of the walk is 1 hour and there will be a debrief after that. Prior to the walk, there will be a lecture performance on acoustic ecology, modes of listening, and the acousmatic condition. Li-Chuan will share from his experience of working with sound as a medium of art and as a methodology for critical inquiry. 

Brandon LaBelle, Presentation & Screening 
Presentation and Open reflection on the concepts of acoustic care and acoustic justice (60 minutes)
with screening of video Deaf Script (Brandon LaBelle / Octavio Camargo), 2022, 12:00 min. 
Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. Guided by situated and collaborative methodologies, he develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, mostly working in public and with others. This leads to performative installations, poetic theater, storytelling, and research actions aimed at forms of experimental community making, as well as extra-institutional initiatives, including The Listening Biennial and Academy (2021-ongoing). From gestures of intimacy and listening to critical festivity and experimental pedagogy, his practice aligns itself with a politics and poetics of radical hospitality. 

Kristina Mah |

Workshop: Creative Research Through Contemplative Enquiry (120 minutes) 
We are witnessing a shi toward embodied philosophies and practices that value holistic integration of mind and body. The care for self and other is becoming crucial to how to live and work. To that end, developing ways of cultivating an attunement and somatic sensitivity to self and others can support creative practitioners by unveiling deeper and richer understandings of their lived experience that can inform research and practice. 
This workshop proposes a framework for creative research through contemplative enquiry. The contemplative framework consists of the preparatory stages of stabilising attention and observing the mind and uses somatic snapshots to sample key moments of experience. Somatic snapshots are mental scans and imprints that sweep attention through the body, noticing affective, attentional, cognitive and proprioceptive dimensions of experience at key points during an embodied practice. 
Kristina Mah is an artist, design researcher and athlete. Her work is positioned at the intersection of philosophy, science, art and design. Kristina integrates somatic and contemplative research approaches and she is interested in exploring consciousness and being and relationalities across social, cultural and ecological contexts. Her research draws inspiration from ancient wisdom traditions and emphasises embodied knowledge and lived experience to explore how to create experiences that translate wisdom and compassion for public engagement. Her practice takes form primarily as installation, combining video, photography, mixed media, and digital and interactive technologies that are informed through ritual, gesture, geometries, architecture and sensory experience. During the workshop participants will experience a set of contemplative practices that explore lived experience by observing the influence of the body, attention and awareness while framing an embodied practice. They will be asked to journal the experience through writing, body mapping and movement. Aerwards, participants will split into groups to discuss their experience of the practice, using their journals to guide the discussion. They will recall and reflect upon sensations, thoughts and feelings. 

Jill J. Tan & Alecia Neo, Workshop: Unclotting Sensing; Embodying Sedimented Histories of Death (180 minutes) 
“Unclotting Sensing; Embodying Sedimented Histories of Death” is a series of research workshops created for anthropologist and artist Jill J. Tan’s doctoral dissertation project and ARTEFACT residency at Dance Nucleus, in collaboration with artist and cultural worker Alecia Neo. 

In reckoning with silences which reflect the historical sedimentation of death, this project moves towards ethics of collaboratively making space for the unsayable wounding of historical and present violence, and reverberations of death. How do we tend to, care for, sit with the unheard, unseen and as-yet unclotted harms? What modes of listening bring us closer to attuning to the reverberations of silence? 
During this workshop reflecting on structural and historical violence in Singapore, you will be invited to think about death through the lenses of jagged and unsettled colonial legacies; environmental destruction; displacement of persons and nature; systemic violence; historical woundings; and social death in the Singaporean context. You are invited to do some archival research prior to attending this workshop as you will be asked to work with a material prompt. There will be two parts of this workshop: an archive exercise, and a ritual exercise. Please wear clothes you are comfortable moving around in. 
One week before the workshop, we invite you to reflect on this question: “How do you experience death, loss, and displacement in [the area you wish to explore in this workshop]?” 
On the day of the workshop, you will need to bring: 1) A photograph (e.g. landscape or infrastructural depiction), a copy of a document, or an image and 2) Objects which reflect an area of the workshop focus which speaks to you. 
*This project was first developed under an ARTEFACT residency at Dance Nucleus in 2022. 

Jill J. Tan |

Jill J. Tan is a writer, artist, and researcher committed to collaborative practice and multimodal exploration through games, performance, and poetics. As a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Yale University, she studies death and dying in Singapore, working with funeral professions and public-facing death literacy efforts. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Guernica, City and Society Journal, The Journal of Public Pedagogies, Mynah, Brack; and the edited volumes Resistant Hybridities: Tibetan Narratives in Exile (Lexington) and Death and the Aerlife: Multidisciplinary Perspectives from Asia (Routledge). She was a 2022 resident at Dance Nucleus, and co-created a featured program for The Studios 2022 at The Esplanade. Tan’s multimedia hybrid poetics project “Notes on the bicentennial of a f/l/ound/er/ing (2019)” was awarded the 2022 Theron Rockwell Field Prize at Yale. 
Alecia Neo |

Alecia Neo is an artist and cultural worker. Her collaborative practice unfolds primarily through installations, lens-based media and participatory workshops that examine modes of radical hospitality and care. Her recent projects include Scores for Caregiving (2023), a participatory installation commissioned by ArtScience Museum, Power to the People (2022), a site-specific art installation presented at Karachi Biennial 2022 and ramah-tamah (2020), a dance film commissioned by the Asian Civilisations Museum. She is currently working on Care Index, an ongoing research focused on the indexing and transmission of embodied gestures and movements which emerge from lived experiences of care labour. Care Index has been recently presented at The Esplanade: Theatres by the Bay, The Listening Biennial, Assembly for Permacircular Museums (ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe), New Season of Care (Asia-Art-Activism) and Presence of Mind (Gallery Lane Cove, NSW, Australia). She is the co-founder of Brack, an art collective and platform for socially engaged art and Ubah Rumah Residency on Nikoi Island, which focuses on ecological practices. Active since 2014, her ongoing collaborations with disabled artists currently manifests as an arts platform, Unseen Art Initiatives. She is currently an associate artist with Dance Nucleus. 

Jevon Chandra
Tour and chill @ National Gallery Singapore. Calm Room residency and Hutan by LittleCr3atures® x Jevon Chandra x Lynette Quek Workshop [max 15 participants, observers welcome] 
Ways of Not Seeing (90 minutes), Sharing (30 minutes) 
Drawing on the artist’s research on aphantasia (a blindness of the mind’s eye) this workshop is motivated by a curious desire to unpack clichéd notions of “wellness”, envisioning it beyond what we can most immediately sense. For example, is it realistic to expect “recovery” as a journey with clear beginning, middle, and end? In this workshop, participants are invited to explore, both individually and collectively, the ways in which process marks our lives. How can we come to terms with our unfinished stories and savour wellness as process and not outcome? For the workshop, please bring a physical object that represents something “unfinished” or “still-in-the-process-of”. This can be an object, artefact, heirloom, printed photo, drawing, poster, ticket stub, receipt, luggage tag, and so on. 
* The object you bring will be held by other participants during the workshop, so do bring something that you are comfortable for others to touch and handle.
** “Ways of Not Seeing: Aphantasia and its Affiliations” is the artist’s overarching research for the Calm Room Creative Residency at National Gallery Singapore. 
*** This workshop is part of a continuing collaboration with Janel Ang and Wong Hui Yu. 
Jevon Chandra |
Jevon Chandra (b. 1991) is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher. Through time and context-bound installations and interventions, his works estimate the push and pull between notions of doubt and belief, as present in acts of love, hope, and faith. He is presently the inaugural artist-in-residence at National Gallery Singapore's Calm Room program and co-lead of Brack, a Singapore-based socially-engaged arts collective. As lead/co-lead artist, his projects have been presented at platforms such as National Gallery Singapore’s Gallery Children Biennale 2023, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) (2022), Leipzig International Art Programme (Germany, 2022), Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) (2021), Singapore Art Week (2021), Fujinoyama Biennale (Japan, 2020), Incheon Art Platform (South Korea, 2019), Esplanade Flipside Festival (2019), Understanding Risk Conference 2019 (Chiang Mai), The Substation (2018), and OXO Tower Wharf (London, 2017). As a collaborator in the performing and media arts, recent credits include multimedia and sound design for Between 5 Cows and the Deep Blue Sea... (2022) for Esplanade’s Kalaa Utsavam Festival, multimedia design for Kepaten Obor – Igniting a Weathered Torch (2022) for Esplanade’s Pesta Raya Festival, _ Can Change (2021) with The Necessary Stage, and (un)becoming (2021) at T:>Works’ N.O.W. Festival. Other sound design credits include An Impression (2021) with T.H.E. Dance Company, NO FLASH (2021), an audio-fiction podcast for National Gallery Singapore. 

Participant Workshop: Offered by Beverly Yuen 
Resonating Echoes: Unlocking the Art of Listening (90 min body-voice workshop, 30 min dialogue) 
10 Aug, 11.00am - 1.00pm 
In this fast-paced world, we often overlook the subtler nuances of our own beings. "Resonating Echoes: Unlocking the Art of Listening" is an empowering workshop that invites participants to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery, focusing on the holistic act of listening—both to the body's innate wisdom and the profound stirrings of the heart. An exploration of the relationship between our voice, body, and movement through the lens of performance anthropology will be carried out. This workshop seeks to unveil the transformative power of these elements in a body [be it for self-expression, healing process — physical or mental, or performance]. 
Through this workshop, we aim to explore how ancient songs and sounds resonate within the human body, shaping movement, expression, and cultural identities. In a world filled with external noise, the true essence of listening extends beyond the mere perception of external sounds. It encompasses the profound act of attuning to the body's whispers and heeding the messages of the heart. Join me in an immersive workshop that celebrates the art of listening, which includes listening to the silence and the internal voice within our body. 
The option to explore movements while seated on a chair is available for those who prefer to remain seated throughout the workshop. 
Beverly Yuen (aka Dr Low Yuen Wei) is the Artistic Director of Grain Performance & Research Lab. She is also a certified personal trainer (American Council on Exercise). In 1995, she co-founded Theatre OX with Ang Gey Pin and a couple of theatre practitioners, and was a full-time performer with the troupe from 1995 to 1999. In 1998, together with Theatre OX, she headed to the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards (Italy) and received intensive performer training for a year. Her work focuses on physical training with the integration of sounds and ancient songs which facilitate the expression of the depth of human reservoirs which includes the emotions and wounds which need healing. Her work encompasses the exploration of physicality and the expressive power of the human body, utilizing sounds and ancient songs as vehicles for conveying the depths of the human spirit. 

Yifan Wang 
Solar Listening (120 mins)

10 Aug, 5.15 pm - 7.15 pm

Solar Listening is a workshop where you can learn how to build a solar-powered DIY mini synthesizer that makes different sounds under different lighting conditions! It will be a playful, hands-on, collective sensory translation experiment. Specifically, we will first split into groups and learn to build the mini-synthesizer, experiment with the device in different lighting environments, and gain an intimate, concrete experience of translating light into sounds. After the DIY process, we will converse and reflect on how the translation experiment inspires responses to broader questions around non-normative listening. Some sample questions include: how does one listen to what is typically unhearable—-light, air, plants, soil, fossil fuels and many many seemingly-silent beings that make up the earth we inhabit? How do different sensory experiences allow us to attune to our environments and habitats differently? How does the practice of listening enable subtler, more intimate forms of noticing? What is the role of media technologies in disrupting prescriptive, restrictive ways of listening, and in helping us imagine new auditory possibilities? We will carry out these reflections through several creative, collective writing exercises! From the workshop, participants will gain enough understanding of electronics and would be able to try connecting the synthesizer to different microcontrollers such as temperature or humidity sensors, and modify the synthesizer to become temperature or humidity responsive! 
Yifan Wang is a new media artist working with texts, codes, video games, digital sounds and images. Her works seek to demystify and interrogate contemporary forms of power such as digital governmentality and financialized neo-feudalism. Her practice also looks for tangible, grassroot, quotidian ways of fracturing and hacking these systems of domination. She embraces boundary deconstruction, relation-building, DIY spirits and wild imaginations!