What is language? Which language and how to use it? Fluid or fluently. A body as language navigating through space. Translating ideas into sound. Moving beyond grammar. Making awareness resonate. Inventing new narratives and connecting to oral histories. We have decided to embark on creating a cross continent and cultural collaboration lab, and an artistic exchange on sound based practices exploring social constructs.
The Sound Lab for Fluid Ways of Knowing brings together eight artists working with sound and language, living in Ghana and Germany, to engage in a collective process of artistic research on artistic methodologies of fluidity, orality, non-duality, of process and improvisation.
Having started with an online phase in December 2022, the Sound Lab takes place for 10 days each at and in collaboration with the Brechtfestival in Augsburg, 9 – 18 February 2023, and then in Accra, at various venues 5 – 15 May 2023.
The process is at the center of the Sound Lab, which will combine internal exchange, collaboration and research with public moments. The public programme includes workshops (for the participating artists to share their practice, and some inspirations by guest speakers), public dinner conversations (with food preparation and serving as one fluid way of knowing and communicating), and performances (that bring the artists’ work in relation to each other and the research questions).
With “ways of knowing” we refer to:
- different epistemologies, oral ways of passing on history, ways of being intellectual beyond academia, knowledge gained in lived experience, embodied knowledge, to the many ways of making sense. We speak to knowledge produced in the working class, in a process of transitioning gender, in a “queer art of failure”, in the many different regions in the global South, in lived experiences of migration.
- what can be known through the artistic practices working with sound and language of the participating artists. For example in practices of moving beyond rigid grammars towards methodologies of queering and bending, of being in the moment and reacting to the process. Sound is also an artistic medium that is accessible for many and that has the potential to communicate and connect across differences.
- and there is the question of how art contributes to becoming aware of one’s situatedness and agency in society, within capitalism and related structures of power (which relates to the theme of this year’s Brechtfestival).
The Sound Lab is a collaboration between ambassador of entanglement Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin and curator and cultural producer Andrea Goetzke, and has been developed including ideas by Julian Warner and colleagues at the Brechtfestival Augsburg. It is organizationally hosted by all2gethernow e.V. in Berlin and TAC Org in Ghana, and co-produced by the Brechtfestival. It is funded by the TURN2 Fund of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.
The framing of the Sound Lab has emerged as a meeting point of artistic research interests between exploring different ways of knowing & being intellectual and knowledge decolonization (Omonhinmin), methodologies for becoming aware of one’s situatedness in structures of power and scope of agency within (Warner/Brechtfestival), and the political dimensions of sound, and collective practices (Goetzke). Omonhinmin/Goetzke share a history of collaboration between cultural scenes in Ghana and Germany, work to facilitate further connections, and to jointly explore experimental ways of knowledge production in cultural exchange, including explorations of how (artistic) collaborations across inequality and power structures can be organized.
We approach the Sound Lab as a collective research process, that we all enter with an attitude of not knowing in hopes to find something, artists, artistic director, team and speakers all in the same way. Every participant has rich experiences and practices to share, however what we are finding together, what we will learn, and also what we perform at the end, can only be worked out collectively in the process.
The eight artists participating in the Sound Lab are:
Angel Maxine is Ghana’s first openly transgender musician. She is a Ghanaian songwriter, singer, artivist and influencer known for advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Ghana and across the African diaspora. She uses her platforms to raise awareness and inspire action against societal ills.
Ale Hop – Alejandra Cárdenas Pacheco (aka Ale Hop) is a Peruvian Berlin-based artist, researcher and experimental musician who began her career in the 2000s in Lima’s underground scene. She composes electronic music by blending a complex repertoire of techniques for electric guitar, which she uses to create a performance of deep physical intensity. Her work includes live shows, record releases, sound and video artworks, research on sound and technology, and original music for film, and dance. She also co-founded the festival Radical Sounds Latin America, is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Berlin University of Arts and directs the editorial platform Contingent Sounds, which facilitates critical discourses on listening.
Chris Imler, standing drummer and dandy with offbeat accentuated countless Berlin music affairs (The Golden Showers, Die Türen, Peaches, Puppetmastaz, Jens Friebe, Oum Shatt, Driver&Driver and many more) and has been playing the stages of Europe as a solo artist for a decade. Chris Imler´s aura oscillates between eternal street boy and dubious magician and stands for a longing for an uncompromising, glamorous, crazy, but at the same time somehow uncorrupted life, alert to any bullshit. The journey into the abyss can be an adventure, and a better companion is really hard to wish for. He appeared on several albums (incl. a soundinstallation at the Robert Wilson Institute in NY). Solo under the name Chris Imler he released: „Arbeiterjunge“ (Meew), „Nervös” (Staatsakt), „Maschinen und Tiere“ (Staatsakt), „Country Club“ (Rio), and recently „Operation Schönheit“ (Fun in the Church).
Jessika Khazrik, born in Beirut, based Berlin, is an artist, composer, technologist, writer, and DJ whose indisciplinary practice ranges from steganography to performance, machine learning, ecotoxicology, visual art, philosophy of intelligence and history of science and music. Khazrik works with a trans-millennial production of knowledge based on an environmental understanding of the techno-politics of voice, media, and code. While tracing the history, political economy, and myths of discipline, her indisciplinary practice revolves around the collective search and need for polymathic resonance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and long-term future. Often born out of vocoded collaborations with multi-modal neural networks skewed with techno and incomputable Arabic rhythms, Armenian sharakan, Levantine mawwal and Kemetic chanting traditions, Khazrik festively uses spaces of congregation to search for locally entrenched universalisms that could collectively respond to the dystopias of our times.
Jumoke Adeyanju is an interdisciplinary multilingual writer, curator and dancer. Under her alias mokeyanju, she occasionally performs as a vinyl selector and aspiring sound artist. Jumoke is the founder of The Poetry Meets Series [est. 2014], co-curator of Sensitivities of Dance and hosts her radio show Sauti ya àkókò as well as the weekly Breakfast Show on Refuge Worldwide. Her multidimensional sound, words and movement art has been commissioned by arts spaces internationally. She has presented her artistic works at international literary festivals performing in English, German, Kiswahili and Yorùbá, and published her poetry and translation work. As an allround-artist, Jumoke’s approach touches on topics like diaspora nostalgia, memory, spiritual liminal spaces, sonic tonalities, and how various elements of expressive art forms interrelate and incorporate the potential to (re-)create moments of reviving other or displaced selves.
Poetra Asantewa is a storyteller and a community catalyst. Her work is focused on investigating, revealing, healing or addressing things that affect her community, city, country or the world. She is the founder of Tampered Press, – a literary and arts journal for Ghanaians and Africans, and Black Girls Glow, an initiative to foster collaboration among black women creatives. She is the author of “you too will know me” and “Woman, eat me whole”.
Pure Akan is known for his remarkable fusion of highlife, hiplife and melodious rap to deliver a refreshing sound that is unique to his Ghanaian roots. Often priding himself in the firm belief of Ghanaian culture, he is distinctive at the use of Twi (a widely spoken Ghanaian language) and performs mostly in the language. Akan’s collaborator collection spans across big Ghanaian shots like Sarkodie, Efya, FOKN BOIZ and UK based Dj Juls. He has released 2 albums with over 5 millions streams and his latest addition is Nyame Mma, a thematic masterpiece that is reminiscent of a storytelling by the fireside where African stories are told. If there is one artist in recent times that embodies artistry with true Ghanaian originality, that is easily Pure Akan and he is doing this so effortlessly while blending music and culture perfectly.
Wanlov the Kubolor is a Ghanaian & Romanian award winning music producer, performer, & creative director. Kubolor plays the guitar & koshkas and speaks Pidgin, Ga, Twi, English, and Romanian. Kubolor is also part of the satirical duo FOKN Bois, with M3NSA, who are credited with creating the world’s first Pidgin Musical “Coz Ov Moni”. He has collaborated with acts like Alostmen, King Ayisoba, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, Sena Dagadu, Pilani Bubu, JOJO ABOT, Stevo Atambire, and Sister Deborah. Kubolor produces & supports talents that have positive social messages as he is a strong advocate in Ghana for Human Rights and is outspoken on environmental protection. Kubolor is popular for his humor, progressive views, and his down-to-earthness. He travels the world barefoot making his memories and connections to places more intimate. The Kubolor wants freedom & justice for all.
The Sound Lab for Fluid Ways of Knowing is funded by the TURN2 Fund of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation). Funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media).