Brandon LaBelle: Reading Group & Book Launch

Brandon LaBelle: Reading Group & Book Launch




07:24 – 07:24


few clouds

Please join us at PUBLICS on May 10th 6pm-8pm where artist, writer and theorist Brandon LaBelle will be joining us in person for a public discussion and launch of two books: The Listening Biennial Reader, vol. 1: Waves of Listening (Errant Bodies Press, 2023) and Acoustic Justice: Listening, Performativity, and the Work of Reorientation (Bloomsbury, 2021). Brandon will make a short introduction about each of these books, linking the overarching perspectives and be in discussion with Paul O’Neill.

The Listening Biennial Reader draws attention to listening as a relational capacity, a philosophical and ecological proposition, a creative practice, and research method. This includes contributions by curators and artists from the first edition of The Listening Biennial, presented in 2021, along with a number of key scholars who offer critical reflections on cultures of listening. Listening emerges as a creative and critical force, or wave of attention, that contributes to maintaining the diversity of our social, creaturely adventure. Including contributions from Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Lucia Farinati, Brandon LaBelle, Kate Lacey, Israel Martínez, Sara Mikolai, Alecia Neo and Jill J. Tan, Daniela Medina Poch, Luísa Santos, and Yang Yeung.

Acoustic Justice engages issues of recognition and misrecognition by mobilizing an acoustic framework. From the vibrational intensities of common life to the rhythm of bodies in movement, and drawing from his ongoing work on sound and agency, Brandon LaBelle positions acoustics, and the broader experience of listening, as a dynamic means for fostering responsiveness, understanding, dispute, and the work of reorientation. As such, acoustic justice emerges as a compelling platform for engaging struggles over the right to speak and to be heard that extends toward a broader materialist and planetary view. This entails critically addressing questions of space, borders, community, and the acoustic norms defining capacities of listening, leading to what LaBelle terms “poetic ecologies of resonance.” Acoustic Justice works at issues of recognition and resistance, place and displacement, by moving across a range of pertinent references and topics, from social practices and sound art to the performativity of skin and the poetics of Deaf voice. Through such transversality, LaBelle captures acoustics as the basis for strategies of refusal and repair.

Reading Group: The Third Voice 

This will be preceded by our third and last Reading Group of the spring from 4-5.30pm with our special guest Brandon LaBelle. Co host is Jo Hislop.

Reading Group is a monthly chance to meet informally, read and collectively discuss topics that arise from the selected text-based work. Following on from our meetings in the autumn, this spring’s program stems from current PUBLICS discourse and brings focus to the voice, complexities of language and listening.

During this session we will be reading Jessica Benjamin’s work Beyond Doer and Done To, the author and psychoanalyst argues for greater intersubjective methods within the context of therapy. This entails undoing the often dominant form of objective analysis in favor of a more cooperative model in which analysis emerges as a process of co-creation, mutual recognition, and shared transformation. For Benjamin, it is essential to work against reinforcing the power relation between Doer and Done To often defining trauma and suffering (as well as the therapeutic process). To elaborate an intersubjective model, Benjamin poses the concept of the Third which, over the course of her publication, is elaborated as a material, psychological, and social figure, one that helps us engage processes of both rupture and repair.

Following Benjamin’s theories, the reading session is aimed at reflecting upon the concept of the Third. This includes a consideration of intersubjectivity and the importance of supporting recognition across social environments, as well as in what ways ideas of the Third impact onto conceptualizations and enactments of voice. If the Third is configured as what enables a deeply ethical form of relationality, in what ways does this effect how we speak? Is there an implied notion of a third voice to be found in Benjamin’s work? The reading session will open onto a more speculative reading of Benjamin, allowing for probing what consequences the Third has for both theoretical and practical approaches to vocality, and in what sense we may foster a new ethical, intersubjective culture of voice today.

Reading group is led by Brandon LaBelle and Jo Hislop and is open and free to everyone, no previous experience or knowledge of the text required.

In order to get a PDF copy of the selected publication in advance, send an email to

Brandon LaBelle

Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist living in Berlin. His work focuses on questions of agency, community, pirate culture, and poetics, which results in a range of collaborative and extra-institutional initiatives, including: The Listening Biennial and Academy (2021-), Communities in Movement (2019-), The Living School (with South London Gallery, 2014-16), Oficina de Autonomia (2017), The Imaginary Republic (2014-19), Dirty Ear Forum (2013-22), Surface Tension (2003-2008), and Beyond Music Sound Festival (1998-2002). In 1995 he founded Errant Bodies Press, an independent publishing project supporting work in sound art and studies, performance and poetics, artistic research and contemporary political thought. His publications include: The Other Citizen (2020), Sonic Agency (2018), Lexicon of the Mouth (2014), Acoustic Territories (2010, 2019), and Background Noise (2006, 2015). His latest book, Acoustic Justice (2021), argues for an acoustic model by which to engage questions of social equality.

Jo Hislop 

Jo Hislop is an artist and producer working across photography, film and writing. Her work explores the nuances and intricacies of sensorial and bodily experience. Originally from the North of England, she is currently based in Helsinki.

Wed 10 May 2023 Closed today


few clouds

Sturenkatu 37-41 4b
00550 Helsinki