Listening Session: Seeing Through Flames: Astro-Darien by Steve Goodman

an image showing a path through space with text reading "astro-darien"
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This session will be led by Steve Goodman (Kode9) and will explore themes of sound, science fiction, colonialism and utopia through a close listening to, and contextualisation of, his recent work Astro-Darien, a 26 minute sonic fiction which plays with the medium and method of the audio essay, an approach that sits between experimental music and sound design, radiophonic drama, documentary fiction and essay film. Astro-Darien is a sonic fiction about simulation, the Scottish Space Program and the ghosts of the British Empire which spirals between the role of the catastrophic Darien Scheme in the late 17th century in the founding of the UK, when Scotland failed to colonise part of present-day Panama, and the contemporary disintegration of the union and movement for Scottish independence. From a Caledonian heart of darkness to a supernova Scotia? Aside from a LP release, the project has also appeared as an audio visual installation featuring animation from artist and collaborator Lawrence Lek.

About the Seeing Through Flames: Of Dubbing 2023 Series

The study sessions are informal discussion groups. Seeing Through Flames is a series of auditory assemblages that turn listening into a collective channel of exchange. These sessions open out the ideas and themes of our research strand, Emergency & Emergence, and survey different possibilities of forming solidarity through sonic ecologies.

Knowing that historiography occasionally reduces history writing to social systems of power in the time and place of a particular experience and does not obey the facts, how can the narrative of the facts be opened up to speculation? If dub is understood as a way of producing a version in the existence, in the wake of, ”the original”, and the idea of history is not as static or settled, dubbing as an act becomes a work of witnessing and of filling in historical gaps with dub imaginary. The space of sound and acoustic experimentation responds to the in-between of what is confined to history, preserved and abandoned.

By lending an emphatic ear to relational tempos, acoustics, beats and frequencies of historical formations and sonic world-making, this season’s Seeing Through Flames brings together a pluriverse of interdependent speculations that confronts the production and writing of history to underscore a condition of possibility for solidarity, beyond ‘the event’ in history, beyond cultural specificity and its locality.

Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) is an artist, writer and DJ. He founded the record labels Hyperdub in 2004 and Flatlines in 2019. His book Sonic Warfare: sound, affect and the Ecology of Fear was published in 2009 (MIT Press) and in 2019 he co-edited Audint-Unsound:Undead (Urbanomic Press) In 2021, he founded Flatlines as a book imprint with first publication Ø. His sound installations have appeared at, among others, the Tate Modern, the Barbican and and CAC in Shanghai. He has produced 4 albums, 2 with the late vocalist The Spaceape, Memories of the Future(2006) and Black Sun (2012) and two solo, Nothing (2015) and Escapology (2022).

About the event

Free for all.

Limited Capacity.

Booking is required.

The duration of the event is one hour and a half. Seating is available.


Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities here.

There are no audio descriptions for this event.

If you have any questions around access or have specific access requirements we can accommodate, please get in touch with us by emailing or phoning 0115 948 9750.

Safety during your visit

Due to COVID precautions, please do not attend this event if you/someone in your household is currently COVID-19 positive, has suspected symptoms, or is awaiting test results.

Staff and visitors are welcome to wear a face mask in all areas.

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