Brandon LaBelle

Research Focus

  • Sound Art (installation, media and performance practices)
  • Sound Studies (sonic cultures, acoustic politics, sociology of listening, voice and voicing)
  • Spatial & Expanded Practice (contextual and sited strategies, experimental architecture, urbanism, place-based issues)
  • Experimental Writing (creative non-fiction, expanded text, writing the body)
  • Cultural Politics (citizenship and migration studies, anarchist thought, open culture, and the powers of the weak)

Curriculum Vitae

Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. Guided by situated and collaborative methodologies, he develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, mostly working in public and with others. This leads to performative installations, poetic theater, storytelling, and research actions aimed at forms of experimental community making. From gestures of intimacy and listening to critical festivity and open movement work, his practice aligns itself with a politics and poetics of radical civility. This includes discursive, ethnographic and archival work, and poetic approaches to knowledge making.

His work has been presented at Struer Tracks sound art biennial, Denmark (2021), Club Transmediale, Berlin (2019), Kunsthall 3,14, Bergen (2018), La Tabacalera, Madrid (2017), Documenta 14, Athens (2017), South London Gallery (2016), Tel Aviv University Art Gallery (2015), Marrakech Biennial (parallel project), 2014, General Public, Berlin (2013), The Whitney Museum, NY (2012), Image Music Text, London (2011), Sonic Acts, Amsterdam (2010), A/V Festival, Newcastle (2008, 2010), Tramway, Glasgow (2010), Museums Quartier/Tonspur, Vienna (2009), 7th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Allegro (2009), Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade (2009), Casa Vecina, Mexico City (2008), Fear of the Known, Cape Town (2008), Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam (2003, 2007), Ybakatu Gallery, Curitiba (2003, 2006, 2009), Singuhr Gallery, Berlin (2004), and ICC, Tokyo (2000). He regularly produces works for radio, notably Documenta / Savvy Funk, Berlin (2017), Radio Reina Sofia (2016), Kunstradio in Vienna (1999, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2020-21) and Deutschland Radio (2009).

Since 2011 he works as a Professor at The Art Academy –- Department of Contemporary Art, University of Bergen, Norway. Current research projects focus on radical sympathy, more-than-social art, acoustic justice, and poetic knowledge. He is also the founding editor of Errant Bodies Press, Berlin, which develops publishing projects and related activities in collaboration with a diversity of authors and artists. In 2021 he initiated and launched The Listening Biennial, and related Listening Academy, focusing on establishing a global network of participating artists, collectives, and organizations to work together on listening as a practice and capacity.

He is currently directing the artistic research project, Communities in Movement, at the Department of Contemporary Art, University of Bergen, in collaboration with Klub Mama Zagreb, AMEE Madrid, Sala 603 Curitiba, and Errant Sound Berlin.

He received a Masters degree from Cal Arts, Los Angeles in 1998, and completed his PhD at the London Consortium in 2005. Following his doctoral work he undertook post-doctoral research at the University of Copenhagen from 2006 to 2009, in Modern Culture and Sound Studies. In 2008-09 he worked as Guest Professor at the Copenhagen Art Academy and at the Free University in Berlin, holding seminars on acoustic territories, spatial practice, and the male voice. From 2012-16 he organized The Invisible Seminar addressing questions of appearance, recognition, and practices of the unseen, which resulted in a number of related exhibitions and publications. In 2014-16 he initiated the first edition of The Living School, an experimental pedagogical project in collaboration with the South London Gallery, as well as The Imaginary Republic, a collaborative framework focusing on art, imaginary power, and practices of social solidarity. In 2018 an iteration of the project was exhibited at Kunsthall 3,14 in Bergen.

Selected Publications

He is the author of Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance (2018), Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2015; 2006). Through his work with Errant Bodies Press he has co-edited the anthologies Site of Sound: Of Architecture and the Ear Volumes 1 & 2 (1999, 2011), Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language (2001), Surface Tension: Problematics of Site (2003) and Radio Territories (2007), along with a series of monographs (Critical Ear series) on sound and media artists.