All the Birds Sing Bass

a graphic with text reading "all the birds sing bass"

on (in)audibility, silenced and vulnerable archives and the politics of futurity

The technology of science

The rituals, the etiquette

the blurring of terms

silence not absence

of words or music or even

raw sounds

Silence can be a plan

rigorously executed

the blueprint to a life

It is a presence

it has a history a form

Do not confuse it

with any kind of absence

- Adrienne Rich, from “Cartographies of Silence”, 1975

The mind that has conceived a plan of living must never lose sight of the chaos against which that pattern was conceived.

- Ralph Ellison, from "Invisible Man", 1952

Nottingham Contemporary presents All the Birds Sing Bass, a convening exploring strategies of speech and spaces of listening.

Taking place over the week of 19-25 June, All the Birds Sing Bass features performance, conversation, music, workshop and screening with contributions by Annie Goh, David Blandy, Jake Mehew, Chooc Ly Tan, Vibeke Mascini & Ella Finer, Emma McCormick-Goodhart, Fleur Melbourn & Tirzah, Steven Feld, Noor Abed, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Jol Thoms, amongst others.

How can we form alliances to create tools that strengthen our communication strategies and ability to listen? Can we create new maps of what we can and cannot hear to remember collective experiences, recognize non-human actions, and conspire new myths? How can we “bottom” the weight and the wobble introduced by sonic positions peripheral to the contested centre?

All the Birds Sing Bass centres dissenting views, sounds and voices, looking at the ripples that propose an alternative history writing and participation via practical solidarity. This series avails itself to resonances and dissonances that problematise preconceptions and totalising paradigms. It sings ‘bass’, voicing the evident exclusions upon which postings of taxonomies and categorisations depend.

Devising languages through sonics, dissonance through movements and capturing what is felt, seen and heard, this series of events consider how narratives could be poetically and sonically claimed while creating echoes through the relationship of the body to other bodies, water and soil.

“Dissonance .... leads to discovery” writes William Carlos Williams. All the Birds Sing Bass navigates through the architectures of land and reclaims the role sonics can play in disrupting dominant knowledges, histories and power.

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