Call for participation - The Listening Academy Singapore

July 01, 2023

Listening Academy: Loss Attunement
9 Aug - 12 Aug 2023

Location: Dance Nucleus (Goodman Arts Centre) 90 Goodman Rd, Block M #02-53, Singapore 439053
and other locations in the city
The Listening Academy is an independent research academy focusing on listening as a philosophical, artistic, social and somatic issue. This entails a relation to sonic, performative and ecological practices, sound studies research, and experimental pedagogy. The Academy offers a generative and nurturing framework for researchers and practitioners to engage in collaborative exchange and the sharing of knowledge, as well as workshopping new directions in sound studies and related issues and practices. This includes bringing together individual approaches and work, and creating opportunities for material exploration and building new collaborations.
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?
Participants may propose workshops, talks and relevant activities during the course of The Listening Academy.
Sign up:

Programme (draft)
Wed, 9 Aug 
Dance Nucleus Studio
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 
Dance Nucleus Studio
3.00pm - 5.00pm Kristina Mah
Creative Research Through Contemplative Enquiry Workshop (120 minutes)
Plus: open time for participant discussions and inputs

Fri, 11 Aug
Dance Nucleus Studio
1.00pm - 4.00pm:  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
Dance Nucleus Studio
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. 
Artist Bios & Workshop Sypnosis
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.

 – We Are Going On A Soundwalk
Lecture Performance (60 minutes), Soundwalk (60 minutes), Debrief (60 minutes)

We are going on a silent 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 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. He is the author of Dreamtime X (2022), Acoustic Justice: Listening, Performativity and the Work of Reorientation (2021), The Other Citizen (2020), Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance (2018), 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 (2019; 2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2015; 2006).

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.
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 Afterlife: 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 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. 
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.
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.
Workshop – Creative Research Through Contemplative Enquiry (120 minutes)
We are witnessing a shift 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.
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. Afterwards, 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.
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.  
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. 

**This project is first developed under National Gallery Singapore’s Calm Room Residency, and is part of a continuing collaboration with Janel Ang and Wong Hui Yu.