Another World That Sounds Like You
A project on collective listening practices
Featuring in-gallery audio works by:
Bani Abidi, Nick Dourado, JJJJJerome Ellis, Urok Shirhan
Hong-Kai Wang, and a program of sonic events and material contributions
Curated by Toleen Touq in collaboration with Heather Canlas Rigg and Nedda Baba
Radio program managed by
Quinton Bradshaw, Sean Warkentine, and Annie Wong
Living Room furnishings fabricated by Véronique Sunatori
Sound engineering by Jason Doell
Gallery installation by Jonathon McCurley
January 27 - April 1, 2023
Opening reception: Thursday, January 26, 6-8pm
Another World That Sounds Like You is co-produced
The audio program plays consecutively and loops every
First playback: 12pm
Last playback: 2:30pm
Another World That Sounds Like You is a multi-faceted exhibition and audio project that features sound-based works engaging the acts of collective listening and sound-making. The exhibition and adjacent programs centre the relationship of sound to social, cultural and political movements and invite audiences to participate in an act of carefully listening together. For the duration of the project, Gallery TPW, an artist-run centre premised on exhibiting lens-based media, will temporarily diverge from its visual focus, having transformed into a cozy living room where visitors can gather to engage other senses, in this case foregrounding the aural to open up felt and participatory forms of connection.
Unfolding akin to an album, the project places the works of artists, musicians, and writers into an immersive and durational environment. Complementing the in-gallery experience is a series of sonic events that make themselves heard as programmed interventions throughout the run of the exhibition. On the airwaves, audiences are able to tune into CJRU’s 1280 AM frequency and online stream throughout February and March to hear this project itinerantly on the radio.
What does it mean to listen together, in the gallery space or through radio waves? How do the sounds of resistance and subversion feel and reverberate in our bodies? By sonically mapping out forgotten histories and silenced social practices, this project questions how we perceive the sounds of our ecologies once recorded and shared. Another World That Sounds Like You invites an intentional listening out to sounds that inscribe traces of hope, longing, and grief.
Like any enticing invitation, this one offers some context to what you’re about to get into, but leaves some details aside about what you might experience if you decide to accept. Unfolding akin to an album, Another World That Sounds Like You arranges the works of artists, musicians, and creative practitioners into an immersive and durational environment that engages the act of collective listening and sound-making. For the span of the project, the gallery space is transformed into a cozy living room where visitors can spend time listening together. This divergence is premised on a desire to engage the aural through audio works that open up felt and participatory forms of connection. It presents an opportunity for close listening to circumvent ocular-centrism, and channel other sensorial realms.
Above all, this project is an invitation. It is an invitation to you, dear listener, to rest the eyes and activate the ears. It is an invitation to come into the gallery, slow down and listen together to sounds, voices and compositions that channel other worlds - of nature, of songs unheard and chants misunderstood. Most of all, it is an invitation to think of listening to sounds as co-articulation. Sounds are constructed by those who listen and the spaces in which these sounds resonate and are amplified. It is an invitation to think of how the act of listening is entangled with personal and collective subjectivities, and the ways in which we come into being at the moment of listening; our emotional and bodily states, our histories, and positionalities. It is an invitation to imagine other worlds, to open up to them by listening out to reverberations that might soothe, confront, or jar, but that might also incite, propel and resonate beyond the physical.
The motivation for this project comes in response to a capitalist and modernist devaluation of collective listening practices, from the decline and commercialization of listening salons and live music gatherings, to hyper-individualized listening mediums such as headphones that have become prevalent in public space. Many collective sound-making practices related to social ceremony or public incantations of lament and joy across the world, such as wailing or ululating, are now frowned upon or deemed “uncivilized.” Politically and artistically, marginalized voices are silenced or purposefully unheard. Another World That Sounds Like You attempts to re-engage the world-building potentials of sounds that generate immaterial social relations and reverberations. As bodies gather in space, whether on the streets, in homes, or
in the gallery, the affects of listening become experiential, heightening our sensation of what we hear, or don’t hear.
The act of listening becomes political.
One curious potential of sound and music is that they can be appropriated as a subversive strategy for coding and intentional misunderstanding. During the British Mandate of Palestine, Palestinian mothers would sing encrypted songs as they walked around the exterior walls of prisons that held their incarcerated sons, brothers and husbands. The songs would contain messages meant to guide their loved ones on escape routes if they succeeded in fleeing: “North, oh love, the village is north, for the one whose door opens to the north.” The lyrics were coded by interrupting words with specific letters to make them incomprehensible to the ears of soldiers and translators. This style of song, called Tarweedeh, remains deeply-rooted in Palestinian cultural traditions of lyrics, mu- sic and dance to this day. Like JJJJJerome Ellis’ incantation of the coded songs of the Underground Railway, Maya Al Khaldi, a Palestinian musician and songwriter, includes such sonic traditions in her album, Other World (released 2022), which inspired this project’s title.
Attention to the subtle movements of sound and listening in a durational program requires patience and slowness, the temporality of which is ruptured and unpredictable. It also asks for attention to fluencies and disfluencies invoked in the acts of sound-making and listening. In the gallery space, the works are facilitated by means of a score that guides the listener through the experience; welcoming and situating you and introducing the ideas behind each work. The score prompts the listener to explore a choreography of listening, conjuring intimacies and movements that the works elicit. The audio pieces are also accompanied by reading material; scripts, program notes and citations that enrich the listening experience. The furniture in the space has been commissioned specifically for this project. It uses both found, re-used and borrowed materials to create a spatial arrangement that is comforting and accessible to different variations of visitor experiences.
This project is anchored by two pillars in addition to the in-gallery experience: a radio show, and a program of sonic events that make themselves heard throughout the project’s life. The radio project takes shape through a collaboration with CJRU 1280 AM, Toronto Metropolitan University’s community radio. Each artist’s audio track will be aired via a focused program that discusses each work’s context followed by reflections by radio volunteers. By expanding the scope of the show to the experience of listening together-yet-apart on radio waves, the artists, contributors, and organizers of the project hope to explore the emancipatory potential of travelling sound waves across dispersed communities in Toronto.
A program of sonic events at Gallery TPW animates the project’s listening experience as more than activation, constituting further ways to listen together in live and unrecorded settings. The program will take shape as two constellations. The first is a two-day program that focuses on the haptic. It starts with a sound bath, transporting the space into an audio meditation room, followed by a living room concert. The second constellation manifests as a closing festival steeped in sounds of rebellions and resistance movements. It will celebrate the sounds of protest, the sonic strategies of the unheard, and the radical sounds of joy and celebration.
By sonically mapping out forgotten histories and silenced social practices, this project invites a careful listening to sound waves that inscribe traces of hope, longing and grief. It brings together audio works and spatial forms that centre the relationship of sound to social and political movements, and to the body, and further questions how we perceive the sounds of our ecologies once recorded and shared. In that respect, this invitation is also a reminder to remain attentive to the sounds of this land we are on; its soil, its water, its hu- man and more-than-human beings. What happens when you attune yourself to these wavelengths, remains up to you.
Generously funded by Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts.
This project would not have been possible without the support and generosity of:
Christophe Barbeau, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Serene Husni, Ami Xherro, Ryan Ferko, Liz Ikiriko, Noura Alkhasawneh, Sameer Farooq, Emily Fitzpatrick, Daniella Sanader, Sharlene Bamboat, Serena Lee, Trinity Square Video, Art Gallery of York University, Mercer Union, Emily Chiarvesio, Gladys Lou, Sean Warkentine, Quinton Bradshaw, Michael Fawcett, Trish Camlan, Safia Said, Crow’s Theatre, Suzanne Carte/Artist Material Fund, Laila Malik, Sameen Mahboubi, Elham Fatapour, Tazeen Qayyum, Derek Jenkins, Shammah Salwa, Dina Mimi, Maya Al-Khaldi, Timothy Yanick-Hunter, Sandy Plotnikoff, Tristram Lansdowne, Hoda Nik, as well as Hong-Kai Wang, Urok Shirhan, Nick Dourado, Bani Abidi, Vidhi Todi, JJJJJerome Ellis, and Daniel McNeil.
Another World That Sounds Like You is presented in partnership with:
Hong-Kai Wang, Hazzeh, production still from the Dead Sea Fault, Jordan Valley, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and MMAG Foundation.
All events listed below will take place in-person at Gallery TPW
Sound bath by Trish Lanns
Friday, March 3, 6-7pm
Sound bathing is an embodied medicine practice putting your mind and body into a calmer state to promote healing and rest. Immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of crystal bowls, chimes, ocean drums and shakers while being guided through meditation with Trish. For this sound bath, the living room created for Another World That Sounds Like You becomes an audio meditation room, where you can sit or lie down comfortably, taking space and allowing time for restoration with sounds that invite deep sensations of calm.
Trish is a queer, petite, introverted Black woman, sound bath facilitator, restorative yoga guide and recreation therapist. Her personal experiences with mindful-rooted practices have created a dramatic effect in her own self-awareness, resilience and personal growth, inspiring her to share these practices with the world. Living with anxiety, Trish discovered sound baths and restorative yoga as a way to effectively drop into a parasympathetic state to find rest, levity and a more grounded place from which to effectively tackle life’s demands. It is her hope that you find all of this in her offerings, too.
Living room concert by JJJJJerome Ellis
Saturday, March 4, 6-7:30pm
In 2018, JJJJJerome Ellis started a series of apartment concerts in his home in Brooklyn that were interrupted by the pandemic. For Another World That Sounds Like You, JJJJJerome will perform a concert in similar style; gathered in the intimate living room space created at Gallery TPW where energies and reverberations can circulate between bodies. JJJJJerome's performance will include the saxophone and hammered dulcimer.
Resistances and Rebellions
INDEX II خوانش ٢
Thursday, March 30, 7-8:30pm
The second iteration in a series of events imagined and organized by a group of Iranian artists in Toronto, this listening session creates space for the sounds and dissonance of resistance emanating from the ongoing Woman, Life, Freedom movement in Iran.
A Loud Voice Never Dies by Urok Shirhan
Friday, March 31, 6-7pm
A Loud Voice Never Dies (2023) is a live lecture-performance that journeys through personal, anecdotal and political events — both recent and distant — that consider the role of (oppressed) sounds and voices in relation to forms of collectivity, dissidence and belonging. Conceived in the aftermath of the Lebanese and Iraqi October Revolutions of 2019 and the subsequent onset of the global pandemic, the work travels from unprecedented events where bodies and sounds erupted in public space, to moments of imposed silence and (violent) dispersal of bodies. Alternating between personal anecdotes, sound recordings and historical archive material, the piece weaves together various sonic fragments that trace some unlikely, and at times forgotten, alliances and active solidarities across vast geographic locations.
This performance is supported by the Mondriaan Fund.
Friday, March 31, 7pm onwards
CJRU Radio will broadcast a focused program on each audio track every Tuesday from February 14 to March 14 at 10am. Tune in to 1280AM on the radio or stream the episodes here.
FURTHER READINGS AND RESOURCES
Here Comes the Sun, a short essay by Daniel McNeil reflecting on the show and personal moments of collective joy elicited by the music of soul rebels and house DJs.
Download the curatorial essay here.
Read audio descriptions of the works here.
List of resources and citations that informed the project is available here.
Hong-Kai Wang is an interdisciplinary artist who works across exhibition making, performance, publication and teaching. Her research-based practice is informed by the unceasing tension between languages, ideologies, identities and knowledge regimes, querying
the politics of listening and knowing at the intersections of lived experience, power and history. Wang has presented her practice internationally. Recent solo project shown at venues include: Centre d’art Ygrec-ENSAPC, Artspeak, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (radio), Theater Commons Tokyo, etc. Group exhibitions at institutions include: Sonic Topologies (organized by ETH), Ulsan Arts Museum, Arts Maebashi, Asia Art Biennial 2019, Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama 2019, Sculpture Center New York, dOCUMENTA 14 (radio), Museum of Modern Art New York, among others. She was one of the represented artists at Taiwan Pavilion in the 54 th Venice Biennale.
Urok Shirhan (Iraq/The Netherlands) is an artist and researcher working at the intersection of performance, visual arts and critical theory. Her practice explores the politics and poetics of sound, image and speech in relation to power and affect. Urok’s latest body of research considers the role of sound (and the voice in particular) in relation to forms of collectivity, dissidence and belonging. Recent presentations include Stroom Den Haag, NL; The Contemporary Art Museum of Crete, Greece; The Mosaic Rooms, London; e-flux Film & Video platform; Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany; The Derivative at the Beirut Art Center; The City Talks Back at Theatrum Mundi at Onassis Stegi, Athens; Casco Institute Working for the Commons, Utrecht; Theater of Operations at MoMA PS1, New York; Post Opera at TENT, Rotterdam; Live Works at the 38th Drodesera Festival, Italy; 5th Biennial for Young Art at NCCA, Moscow and Sonic Continuum at the Nottingham Contemporary.
JJJJJerome Ellis is an animal, stutterer, and artist from Tidewater, Virginia.
Nick Dourado is a composer, artist and scientist whose work represents the confluence of their Konkani heritage, childhood study in European impressionist and romantic piano, graduate degree in engineering and ocean acoustics, and varied experience as a working creative musician. Nick is a disciple and faculty member of the Creative Music Workshop; a programme developed by Jerry Granelli that teaches embodiment and listening as the fundamentals of music. They have modeled their band, Budi, closely after Granelli's esteemed ensembles that expand upon bebop and free jazz to include acoustic and synthetic voices and contemporary musical ideas. They have been touring and recording with a revolving cast of musicians playing in several styles, supporting new-age music pioneer Beverly Glenn-Copeland; as well as, Lido Pimienta, Aquakultre, Fiver and Special Costello. Their productions have been celebrated with multiple nominations for the Polaris Music Prize. Nick released their debut solo album with Budi, entitled "WORLD/GO/DUH" and continues to record under the auspices of You've Changed Records.
Bani Abidi, born in 1971, Karachi, Pakistan, and now working between Berlin and Karachi, Bani Abidi uses video and photography to comment upon politics and culture, often through humorous and absurd vignettes. She studied visual art at the National College of Arts in Lahore and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited widely in solo and group shows internationally. Solo shows have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Gropius Bau, Berlin; Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg; Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas; Kunstverein Arnsberg, Arnsberg, Germany; The Baltic, Gateshead, England; Experimenter, Kolkata; and Green Cardamom, London, amongst others. Select group shows include The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10), Edinburgh Arts Festival, 2016; 8th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, 2014; In Plain Sight, Smack Mellon, New York, 2014; Lines of Control, Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, US 2013; No Country, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2013; dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany, 2012; Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India, 2012; Blockbuster: Cinema for Exhibitions, Mexico, 2011; Where Three Dreams Cross, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2005; Xth Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France, 2009; 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea, 2008; amongst several others.