Te Whare Hēra Eavesdropping Residency is a partnership with Massey University’s Te Whare Hēra, supported by Liquid Architecture through Creative Victoria’s International Engagement program. Te Whare Hēra Eavesdropping Residency comprises a series of short residencies in the city for exhibiting artists based in Victoria, Australia. Throughout the exhibition, artists and curators will visit Wellington to make new work, deliver talks and connect with the community.
**How Does a Straight Line Feel? | Sat 16 November, 4pm
Artists Bryan Phillips and Fayen d’Evie present a live quadraphonic-sound performance.
Fayen d’Evie is an artist, writer and curator based in Muckleford, rural Victoria whose works are attuned to complex embodiment, sensory translations, ephemerality, obscurity, concealment, wayfinding, and the invisible.
Bryan Phillips is a Chilean Australian artist working in community arts, music and performance, using sound as a means to facilitate engagement with others.
**Indigenous Activism in Art and Architecture | Sun 13 Oct, 2pm
Joel Spring (Wiradjuri) and Elisapeta Heta (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hāmoa, Waikato-Tanui) present on their practices and activism in both art and architecture.
Joel Spring is a Wiradjuri man raised between Redfern and Alice Springs who works across research, activism, architecture, installation and speculative projects. At present, his work focuses on the contested narratives of Sydney’s and Australia’s urban culture and indigenous history in the face of ongoing colonisation.
Elisapeta Heta is a Senior Associate at architecture firm Jasmax, and is an artist, singer, and member of Ngā Aho, network of Māori design professionals, and ex Co-chair of Architecture+Women NZ. With her collaborator John Miller, she has just been announced as one of the artists for the Biennale of Sydney 2020.
**. Manus Recording Project Collective Talk and Listen Session. Thurs 3 Oct, 6pm
Michael Green and Jon Tjhia Manus Recording Project Collective introduce and share recordings from the Eavesdropping audio archive of life in limbo on Manus Island. The archive is built from 10-minute recordings sent daily from six men detained by the Australian government on Manus Island: Farhad Bandesh, Behrouz Boochani, Samad Abdul, Shamindan Kanapathi, Kazem Kazemi and Abdul Aziz Muhamat. Part of October’s Tuatara Open Late programme
** Keynote Lecture: Eavesdropping: On the Politics of Listening and Being Listened To. Thurs 5 Sep, 6pm.
Curators Joel Stern (Liquid Architecture) and James Parker (Melbourne Law School) unpack their show Eavesdropping. Following will be a presentation of two short films by artists: Turner-Prize Nominee Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Walled Unwalled (20 mins) and Muted We Are the World by Samson Young (5 mins).This keynote lecture is part of the September Tuatara Open Late programme.
Sat, 17. Aug–
Sun, 17. Nov
The earliest references to eavesdropping are found in law books. According to William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1769), ‘eavesdroppers, or such as listen under walls or windows, or the eaves of a house, to hearken after discourse, and thereupon to frame slanderous and mischievous tales, are a common nuisance and presentable at the court-leet’. Today, however, eavesdropping is not only legal, it’s ubiquitous—unavoidable. What was once a minor public-order offence has become one of the key political and legal problems of our time, as the Snowden revelations made clear.
Eavesdropping addresses the capture and control of our sonic world by state and corporate interests, alongside strategies of resistance. For the curators, James Parker (Melbourne Law School) and Joel Stern (Liquid Architecture), eavesdropping isn’t necessarily malicious. We cannot help but hear too much, more than we mean to. Eavesdropping is a condition of social life. And the question is not whether to eavesdrop, therefore, but how.
Much of the work is expressly political. Lawrence Abu Hamdan, based in London and Beirut, considers the oppressive regime of silence enforced in a Syrian prison, the use of accent tests to deny Somalians refugee status, and the analysis of audio-ballistic evidence that led to an Israeli soldier being tried for manslaughter. Works also engage activist practices of ‘listening back’. The Manus Recording Project Collective—a group of men detained by Australia on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea—made recordings daily for the show, offering a sonic window into their situation and prompting us to consider our place as earwitnesses.
The show addresses what can and can’t be heard. Susan Schuppli, from the London group Forensic Architecture, considers a notorious gap in Oval Office audio-tape records during the Nixon presidency, suggesting that lack of evidence could be evidence of something. Sydney-based Wiradjuri artist Joel Spring presents recordings of conversations with his mother—a health worker, activist and academic—about a disease that causes hearing loss in Aboriginal children. For his video, Hong Kong artist Samson Young has singers suppress their vocals, so we only hear the incidental sounds their bodies produce, their breathing, the rattling of their scores.
Technology reigns. Melbourne artist Sean Dockray stages a philosophical dialogue between an Amazon Echo, a Google Home Assistant, and an Apple Homepod on the moral and political implications of networked machine listening. Meanwhile, at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), Fayen d’Evie and Jen Bervin (with Bryan Phillips and Andy Slater) research ‘cosmic eavesdropping’, mixing a SETI radio telescope feed with field recordings and accounts of individuals dedicated to listening for extraterrestrial signals.