Allanah Stewart is an artist from Aotearoa/New Zealand, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. As well as her work in various experimental music projects, she is the presenter of a monthly podcast radio programme called Enquiring Minds, hosted by Noods radio, which explores old and new, lesser known and well known sounds that loosely fit under the banner of experimental music.
Jen Callaway is a Melbourne musician, sound and performance artist, photographer, and community services worker raised in various parts of Tasmania. Current projects include bands Is There a Hotline?, Propolis, Snacks and Hi God People; and upcoming film Here at the End, by Campbell Walker, as actor/co-writer.
Isha Ram Das is a composer and sound artist primarily concerned with ecologies of environment and culture. He works with experimental sound techniques to produce performances, installations and recordings. He was the 2019 recipient of the Lionel Gell Award for Composition, and has scored feature-length films and nationally-touring theatre installations. He has performed at institutions such as the Sydney Opera House; Black Dot Gallery, Melbourne; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Metro Arts, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Boxcopy, Brisbane.
Dylan Robinson is a xwélméxw (Stó:lō) writer, artist, scholar and curator, He is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, and associate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is author of Hungry Listening, Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies, published by University of Minnesota Press.
Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman (North Stradbroke Island) in South East Queensland. Her site-specific sculptural installations, video work and paintings investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and mapping practices. Cope’s work often resists prescribed notions of Aboriginality and becomes psychogeographies across various material outcomes that challenge the grand narrative of ‘Australia’ as well as our sense of time and ownership in a settler colonial state.
Australian musician Sean Baxter died on 15 March 2020. Part of Melbourne's improv scene, he is described by musician Anthony Pateras as possessing “a unique aesthetic vision and intellectual depth, mixing highbrow philosophical concepts with punk sensibilities in how he lived, spoke and played. He was pure energy.”
Drumkit and percussionist, Sean was an Australian improviser who forged an international reputation as a bold explorer of percussive possibilities both as a soloist and through his work with the acclaimed avant-garde trio, Pateras/Baxter/Brown. Focusing on the use of extended techniques applied to the conventional drum kit, he utilised an arsenal of metallic junk and other percussive detritus to expand the sonic palette of the percussion tradition. In addition to Pateras/Baxter/Brown, he was involved in many collaborations and was drummer for groups The Throwaways, Bucketrider, Lazy, SxSxSx and Terminal Hz.
Thomas Ragnar is an artist based in Singapore. His work is often underpinned by collaborations, affinities and research with experiential methodologies.
Alessandro Bosetti is an Italian composer, performer and sound artist, currently based in Marseille. His work delves into the musicality of spoken language, utilising misunderstandings, translations and interviews as compositional tools. His works for voice and electronics blur the line between electro-acoustic composition, aural writing and performance.
Lin Chi-Wei is a legend of Taiwanese sonic art, whose practice incorporates folklore culture, noise, ritual, and audience participation.
Mat Dryhurst is an artist who releases music and artworks solo and in conjunction with Holly Herndon and the record label PAN. Dryhurst developed the decentralised publishing framework Saga, which enables creators to claim ownership of each space in which their work appears online, and a number of audio plays that derive their narrative from the personal information of listeners. He lectures on issues of music, technology, and ideology at NYU, and advises the blockchain-based platform co-operative Resonate.is.
Sean Dockray is an artist, writer, and programmer living in Melbourne whose work explores the politics of technology, with a particular emphasis on artificial intelligences and the algorithmic web. He is also the founding director of the Los Angeles non-profit Telic Arts Exchange, and initiator of knowledge-sharing platforms, The Public School and Aaaaarg.
Author of Hearing the Cloud (Zero Books), Emile Frankel is a writer and composer researching the changing conditions of online listening. In his spare time he runs the science fiction and critical fantasy publisher Formling.
Bridget Chappell is a raver and theory bro currently living on the unceded nations of the Latji Latji and Nyeri Nyeri people. They make music as Hextape and organise parties in drains, observatories, and other natural amphitheatres. They founded and run Sound School, work with young musicians behind bars, and make experimental sound technologies to challenge police sirens.
Holly Herndon experiments at the outer reaches of dance music and pop. Born in Tennessee, Herndon spent her formative years in Berlin’s techno scene and repatriated to San Francisco, where she completed her PhD at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Her albums include Platform (2015) and Proto (2019).
Candice Hopkins is a curator, writer and researcher interested in history, art and indigeneity, and their intersections. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Hopkins is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation. She was senior curator for the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art, and worked on the curatorial teams for the Canadian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, and documenta 14.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. His work ranges from chamber music to experimental noise, to large scale installations, produced solo and with the Indigenous art collective Postcommodity. At California Institute of the Arts, Chacon studied with James Tenney, Morton Subotnick, Michael Pisaro and Wadada Leo Smith developing a compositional language steeped in both the modernist avant-garde and Indigenous cosmologies and subjectivities. He has written for ensembles, musicians and non-musicians, and for social and educational situations, and toured the world as a noise artist.
Lisa Lerkenfeldt is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sound, gesture and performance. Central to her practice is languages of improvisation and intimacy with technology. Traces of a personal discipline and form of graphic notation are introduced in the online exhibition 14 Gestures. The associated recorded work Collagen (Shelter Press, 2020) disrupts the role of the common hair comb through gesture and sound.
Haroon Mirza is an artist who intertwines his practice with the role of composer. Mirza considers electricity his main medium and creates atmospheric environments through the linking together of light, sound, music, videos and elements of architecture. Regularly showing internationally in group and solo exhibitions, Mirza’s work has also been included in the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China (2012) and the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011), where he was awarded the Silver Lion.
Shanghai native 33EMYBW (Wu Shanmin) has been an active member in the Chinese music scene for over a decade. She has also performed at CTM and Sinotronics in Germany, China Drifting Festival in Switzerland, and SXSW. Her 2018 album Golem, released on SVBKVLT, was met with critical acclaim and voted one of the best electronic albums of 2018 by Bandcamp. In 2019 she released DONG2 EP under Merrie Records Beijing, and will premiere her sophomore album Arthropods (SVBKVLT) at Unsound 2019.
Alexander Garsden is a Melbourne-based composer, guitarist and electroacoustic musician, working across multiple exploratory musical disciplines. Recent work includes commissions from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Speak Percussion, Michael Kieran Harvey and Eugene Ughetti; alongside performances with artists including Tetuzi Akiyama (Japan), Oren Ambarchi, Radu Malfatti (Austria), Julia Reidy, David Stackenäs (Sweden), and with Erkki Veltheim and Rohan Drape. From 2014 to 2019 Garsden was Co-Director of the INLAND Concert Series. He has taught through RMIT University and the University of Melbourne.
Annika Kristensen is Senior Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.
Arben Dzika is an artist whose practice involves working with various media including, but not limited to: sound, image, word, and performance. His work primarily seeks to reflect on, interrogate, and play with technologies, systems, and human senses. Within his practice, he works as a producer and DJ under the moniker, Dilae.
Audrey Schmidt is a writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a regular contributor to Memo Review, co-editor the third issue of Dissect Journal, and has written for various publications including Art Monthly, Art + Australia and un Magazine. She co-founded Minority Report with Adam Hammad in 2018 and released one online issue that was available until the domain expired in 2019. Audrey sits on the FYTA (GR) Board of Advisors.
Autumn Royal is a poet, researcher, and educator based in Narrm/Melbourne. Autumn’s current research examines elegiac expression in contemporary poetry. Autumn is the interviews editor for Cordite Poetry Review, and author of the poetry collections She Woke & Rose (Cordite Books, 2016) and Liquidation (Incendium Radical Library, 2019).
Bianca Winataputri is a Melbourne-based independent curator and writer researching contemporary practice in Southeast Asia, and relationships between individuals and collectives in relation to history, globalisation, identity and community building. Currently working at Regional Arts Victoria, Bianca was previously Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the NGA. She holds a BA (University of Melbourne), and BA Honours from the ANU where she received the Janet Wilkie Prize for Art. In 2018 Bianca was selected for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s Curators’ Intensive.
Brian Hioe was one of the founding editors of New Bloom, an online magazine covering activism and youth politics in Taiwan and the Asia Pacific, founded in 2014 in the wake of the Sunflower Movement. Hioe is a freelance writer on social movements and politics, as well as an occasional translator.
Chi Tran is a writer, editor, and an artist who makes poems that may be text, video, object, sound, or drawing. Chi is primarily interested in working with language as a means of coming-to-terms. Their work has been published by Incendium Radical Library Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry and Liminal Magazine and exhibited at galleries including Firstdraft, Sydney; Punk Café, Melbourne; and ACCA, Melbourne. In 2019, as a recipient of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fund, Chi spent three months in New York developing their practice with renowned poets including Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Fred Moten, and Jackie Wang.
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan is a Hong Kong–Australian artist, living in Sydney. Working across music, performance and installation, Rainbow is interested in the copy and how the ways in which it can disrupt Western notions of ownership. Central to Rainbow's work is the circulation of knock-off objects, sounds and images in global media. Her work positions the counterfeit as a complex sign that shapes new myths, values and contemporary commodity production.
Dale Gorfinkel is a musician-artist whose stylefree improvisational approach informs his performances, instrument-building, and kinetic sound installations. Aiming to reflect an awareness of the dynamic nature of culture and the value of listening as a mode of knowing people and places, Dale is interested in bringing creative communities together and shifting perceived boundaries. Current projects include Prophets, Sounds Like Movement, and Music Yared as well as facilitating Art Day South, an inclusive arts studio with Arts Access Victoria.
Danni Zuvela is a curator and writer based in Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Her research is informed by interests in feminism, activism, ecology, language and performance. With Joel Stern, Danni has led Liquid Architecture as Artistic Director, and continues to develop curatorial projects for the organisation.
Eric Avery is a Ngiyampaa, Yuin, Bandjalang and Gumbangirr artist. As part of his practice Eric plays the violin, dances and composes music. Working with his family’s custodial songs he seeks to revive and continue on an age old legacy – continuing the tradition of singing in his tribe – utilising his talents to combine and create an experience of his peoples culture.
Fjorn Butler is an artist, researcher, and event organiser. As an artist, she works primarily in sound and performance under the name Papaphilia. As a researcher, she interrogates how biological discourses are used in neoliberal/colonial governance structures to shape the political. Fjorn's research informs her writing on sound-poetics and the challenges this framework poses to anglophone notions of property. She is also co-director of Future Tense and co-curator of Writing and Concepts.
Freya Schack-Arnott is an Australian/Danish cellist who enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist and ensemble performer of classical and contemporary repertoire, curator and improviser within experimental music, electronics, popular and cross-disciplinary art forms. Schack-Arnott regularly performs with Australia's leading new music ensembles, including ELISION Ensemble (as core member) and Ensemble Offspring. Her curatorial roles include co-curator/founder of the regular 'Opus Now' music series and previous curator of the NOW Now festival and Rosenberg Museum.
Gooooose (Han Han) is an electronic music producer, visual artist and software developer based in Shanghai, China. His current releases include They (D Force, 2017), Dong 1 (D Force, 2018), Pro Rata (ANTE-RASA, 2019). Gooooose's 2019 SVBKVLT–released RUSTED SILICON received positive reviews from media including boomkat, Resident Advisor, Dusted Magazine, and The Wire. Gooooose has performed live at CTM (Berlin, 2018), Nyege Nyege (Kampala, 2019), Soft Centre (Sydney, 2019), Unsound (Kraków, 2019) and Recombinant (San Francisco, 2019).
Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, archivist, director, and the author of four collections of poetry, Negro League Baseball, Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues, Hollywood Forever, and A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.
James Rushford is an Australian composer-performer who holds a doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts, and was a 2018 fellow at Academy Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. His work is drawn from a familiarity with specific concrète, improvised, avant-garde and collagist languages. Currently, his work deals with the aesthetic concept of musical shadow. James has been commissioned as a composer by ensembles including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Glasgow), and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs in Australia and internationally.
Jessica Aszodi is an Australian-born, London-based vocalist who has premiered many new pieces, performed work that has lain dormant for centuries, and sung roles ranging from standard operatic repertoire to artistic collaborations. She has been a soloist with ensembles including ICE; the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras; and San Diego and Chicago Symphony Orchestras’ chamber series. Aszodi can be heard on numerous recordings and has sung in festivals around the world. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Queensland Conservatorium, an MFA from the University of California, and is co-director of the Resonant Bodies Festival (Australia), and artistic associate of BIFEM.
Kt Spit (Katie Collins) is an artist and musician based in Narrm (Melbourne). Lyrically and visually her work explores subcultural narratives and challenges dominant representations of loss, grief, and true love. In 2015 Kt independently released her debut album, Combluotion, and in 2019 will release a visual album entitled Kill the King.
The Convoy conjure illustrious soundscapes from the abyss of chaos, revealing hidden worlds of the imagination as the performance takes form and infuses with subjective experience. Using instruments of sound, light and smell, The Convoy enchant space with themes of tension, evolution, entropy and regeneration. Sensorial immersion transports audiences through highly dynamic environments that shift and blend into one single, breathing moment. As entity, rather than singular, Immy Chuah is a guest within The Convoy on unceded land.
Sam Peterson is interested in what can be done with one’s identity and the space around it.
'Both my body and mind, touching everyday feelings between the rational, the playful and the political. Of course, this is often to do with my disability and my sexuality. My work has been focused on access, and the lack of it — to places, people’s minds and opportunities. I find plasticine is a great subverter of space and potentially of people’s minds. And the continued flexibility of it is something I am really enjoying — covering or filling up gaps and playing with crevices. But I’m finding that my work is drawing more and more to spoken word as a powerful format.'
Sarah McCauley is a Melbourne-based music producer, editor and writer.
Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung man. He is well known in Narrm/Birraranga for his musical project DRMNGNOW, a project built on subject matter tackling the colonial nature of the Australian construct and how that affects contemporary society upon this land. The work is unapologetic, clear, and deeply poetic. It hints toward Morris's extensive experience as a spoken word artist in Narrm since 2015. Morris's work is triumphant in the face of severe adversity often imbued in a quite fortified melancholy, a powerful marker of the survival of First Nations peoples in the now.
Natasha Tontey is an artist and graphic designer based in Yogyakarta. She is interested in exploring the concept of fiction as a method of speculative thinking. Through her artistic practice she investigates the idea of how fear, horror, and terror could be manifested in order to control the public and how fictional accounts of the history and myth surrounding ‘manufactured fear’ might operate as a method of speculative fiction that determines expectations for the future.
Mat Spisbah is a New Media curator with a unique portfolio of programming that seeks to integrate non-traditional artistic methods and emerging technologies. Having lived in Hong Kong for 14 years, he is connected to the region’s art and culture, and has created professional networks with artists, curators, galleries, promoters and industry professionals across Australasia. Portfolio highlights include the debut Australian performances of north Asian artists including: Howie Lee, Rui Ho, Meuko Meuko, Pan Daijing, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Tzusing, and Gabber Modus Operandi.
Mandy Nicholson is a Wurundjeri-willam (Wurundjeri-baluk patriline) artist and Traditional Custodian of Melbourne and surrounds. Mandy also has connections to the Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai illam wurrung language groups of the Central/Eastern Kulin Nation. Mandy gained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Aboriginal Archaeology in 2011, worked for the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages for six years and is now a PhD candidate studying how Aboriginal people connect to Country, Off Country.
Lucreccia Quintanilla is an artist, writer, DJ and PhD candidate researcher at Monash University. Her writing and art have been published and exhibited both within Australia and internationally. Quintanilla’s practice is a collaborative one that manifests into outcomes within galleries and also as events and performances outside of that context. She regularly speaks at panels and symposiums on themes within her research, has received grants for her projects and residencies, and has taught at university level.
Amanda Stewart is a poet, author, and vocal artist. She has created a diverse range of publications, performances, film and radio productions in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the USA, working in literature, new music, broadcasting, theatre, dance, and new media environments. Amanda collaborated with Chris Mann for many years in the Australian ensemble, Machine For Making Sense (with Jim Denley, Rik Rue, and Stevie Wishart), as well as in other contexts. Her poem ‘ta’ was written in honour of Chris Mann’s extraordinary vision and work.
Holly Childs is an artist and writer. Her research involves filtering stories of computation through frames of ecology, earth, memory, poetry, and light. She is the author of two books: No Limit (Hologram, Melbourne) and Danklands (Arcadia Missa, London), and she collaborates with Gediminas Žygus on ‘Hydrangea’. She is currently writing her third book, What Causes Flowers Not to Bloom?.
Ivy Alvarez’s poetry collections include The Everyday English Dictionary, Disturbance, and Mortal. Her latest is Diaspora: Volume L (Paloma Press, 2019). A Fellow of MacDowell Colony (US), and Hawthornden (UK), her work is widely published and anthologised (twice in Best Australian Poems), with poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, she lived in Wales for almost a decade, before arriving in New Zealand in 2014.
Nick Ashwood is a guitarist, composer, improviser and performer from Nipaluna/Tasmania now residing in Sydney. His focuses have been exploring deep listening, harmonic space and the possibilities of the steel-string acoustic guitar by means of preparations, just intonation, objects and bowing.
Berlin-based composer-performer Johnny Chang engages in extended explorations surrounding the relationships of sound/listening and the in-between areas of improvisation, composition and performance. Johnny is part of the Wandelweiser composers collective and currently collaborates with: Catherine Lamb (Viola Torros project), Mike Majkowski (illogical harmonies), Phill Niblock, Samuel Dunscombe, Derek Shirley and others.
Megan Alice Clune shifts between musician, composer and artist. Primarily, her work explores both the concept and aesthetics of ambient music through sound installation, collaboration and performance. Megan is the founding member of the Alaska Orchestra, and has presented work and undertaken residencies across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, including the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (MA), Next Wave Festival, Underbelly Arts Festival, Performa 15 (NYC) and VividLIVE at the Sydney Opera House.
Andrew Fedorovitch is compos mentis. Andrew Fedorovitch embodies professionalism in every aspect of his life, including music.
Shota is an artist working in Australia. He makes sound-based works for varying contexts. He has had the opportunity to collaborate with a multitude of artists from varying disciplines. Shota is currently an honours student who is associated with the Plant ecophysiology and Ecosystem processes lab at the University of Sydney.
Sonya Holowell is a Dharawal woman, vocalist, composer and writer working across new and experimental genres. The contexts for her work, and the forms they take, are diverse and deeply questioning. Her practice comprises interdisciplinary collaboration, improvisation, multi-form writing and conceptual composition. She is also a workshop facilitator; a curator of the Now Now Festival; lecturer in experimental vocal practice; and a co-founder/editor of online arts publication ADSR Zine.
Alexandra Spence is an artist and musician living on unceded Wangal land in Sydney, Australia. Through her practice, Alex attempts to reimagine the intricate relationships between the listener, the object, and the surrounding environment as a kind of communion or conversation. Her aesthetic favours field recordings, analogue technologies and object interventions. Alex has presented her art/music in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America including Vancouver Art Gallery; BBC Radio 3 & 4; Ausland, Berlin; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Sound Forms Festival, HK; MCA ARTBAR, Firstdraft Gallery, and Liveworks Festival, with Liquid Architecture, Sydney. And she has released her work with labels Room40, Longform Editions, More Mars (with MP Hopkins) and Canti Magnetici.
MP Hopkins is an artist working on Gadigal and Wangal land in Sydney, Australia that makes audio, performance, radiophonic, and textual works. He uses voice, feedback, recording/playback devices, and verbal notation within different acoustic environments, which are deconstructed and presented to the listener in delicate and degraded ways. Hopkins has released recordings with Penultimate Press, Canti Magnetici, Tahalamos, Mappa Editions and Regional Bears. He has presented projects for the NOW now, Liquid Architecture, Avantwhatever, and The Make It Up Club. International appearances include Café Oto, UK; LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore; Les Ateliers Claus, Belgium; TUSK Festival, UK; Colour Out of Space Festival, UK; and he has produced radiophonic works for Radiophrenia, Kunstradio, and the Radia network.
Joel Stern is a researcher, curator, and artist living in Naarm / Melbourne, Australia, and a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in DSC in the School of Media & Communication, RMIT. With a background in experimental music, Stern’s work focuses on practices of sound and listening and how these shape our contemporary worlds.
Between 2013 and 2022, Stern was Artistic Director of Liquid Architecture, leading the organising and developing artistic research projects such as Eavesdropping, Machine Listening, Polyphonic Social, Why Listen?, Instrument Builders Project, and Ritual Community Music. He is an editorial associate of Disclaimer journal.
Georgia Hutchison is a cultural development practitioner and arts executive in Naarm/Melbourne, and Executive Director/CEO of Liquid Architecture. Her practice as an artist, educator, organiser and strategist crosses contemporary art, music, design and social justice.
Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) is a new and original voice in the evolving journey of Taonga Puoro. His debut album Whāia te Māramatanga (Rattle Records) is a deeply felt and highly concentrated conversation between the past and the present—a musical passage of identity and connection. Using modern loop technology and traditional Māori flutes and horns made from stone, bone, shell and wood, Thorne creates a transcendent aural experience that touches the soul with timeless beauty. Every performance of Whāia te Māramatanga is a stunning and very personal exploration of the spiritual and healing qualities of an ancient practice.
Michiko Ogawa is a performer-composer specialising in the clarinet, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She performs not only classical repertoire but also contemporary and experimental music, including free improvisation and film soundtrack work. In 2019 she was awarded a doctorate (DMA) from the University of California San Diego, with a dissertation focusing on the film music of Teiji Ito. She is in the beginning stages of writing a biography of Ito’s life.
Curious about the tender intersections between art, life and friendships, Emma Nixon is an emerging curator and writer. In 2018 she completed a Bachelor of Art History and Curating at Monash University and co-founded Cathedral Cabinet ARI in the Nicholas Building. In Melbourne she has curated and written about exhibitions that investigate subjects such as abstraction, the domestic, care and collage within contemporary art.
Fayen d’Evie is an artist and writer, based in Muckleford, Australia. Her projects are often conversational and collaborative, and resist spectatorship by inviting audiences into sensorial readings of artworks. Fayen advocates the radical potential for blindness, arguing that blindness offers critical positions and methods attuned to sensory translations, ephemerality, the tangible and the intangible, concealment, uncertainty, the precarious, and the invisible. With artist Katie West, Fayen co-founded the Museum Incognita, which revisits neglected or obscured histories through scores that activate embodied readings. Fayen is also the founder of 3-ply, which investigates artist-led publishing as an experimental site for the creation, dispersal, translation, and archiving of texts.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd is a para-corporate entity who engages im/material contexts with the view to highlight and disrupt administrative forms and their embedded power relations. Deploying print, design, installation, and wearables as the most visible parts of operations, they also work in experimental pedagogy and perforated performance of labour. They are a white-settler parasite with theft and dispossession as the implicated ground from which they work. They currently hold contracts with Liquid Architecture, Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University and Debris Facility Pty Ltd.
Timmah Ball is a writer and urban researcher of Ballardong Noongar descent. She has written for The Griffith Review, Right Now, Meanjin, Overland, Westerly, Art Guide Australia, Assemble Papers, The Big Issue, The Lifted Brow, the Victorian Writer magazine and won the Westerly Patricia Hackett Prize for writing.
Jessie Scott is a practising video artist, writer, programmer and producer who works across the spectrum of screen culture in Melbourne. She is a founding member of audiovisual art collective Tape Projects, and co-directed and founded the inaugural Channels Video Art Festival in 2013.
Christopher L G Hill is an artist, poet, anarchist, collaborator, facilitator, lover, friend, DJ, performer, sound pervader, publisher of Endless Lonely Planet, co-label boss; Bunyip trax, traveller, homebody, dancer, considerate participator, dishwasher, writer, bencher, eater, exhibitor: Sydney, Physics Room, Westspace, TCB, BUS, Punk Cafe,100 Grand street, Lismore Regional Gallery, Good Press, Gambia Castle, Conical, GCAS, NGV, VCA, Mission Comics, Slopes, Art Beat, Papakura Gallery, Neon Parc, UQ Gallery, Tate Modern, Connors Connors, Glasgow International, Sandy Brown, OFLUXO, New Scenarios, Margaret Lawrence, Flake, Utopian Slumps, World Food Books, Sutton, Rearview, Joint Hassles, a basement, a tree, Innen publications, SAM, Chateau 2F, etc, and tweeter, twitcher, sleeper, Biennale director (‘Melbourne Artist initiated’ 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018-20), DJ, retired gallerist Y3K, conversationalist who represents them self and others, born Melbourne/Narrm 1980c.e, lives World.
Iliass Saoud was born in Halba, Lebanon in 1960 as the sixth of eight children of Wakim and Nadima Saoud. Escaping the Lebanese Civil War in 1977, Iliass migrated to Canada pursued a BA in Mathematics from Dalhouse University in 1982. In 1987 he married Janice Joseph (Fakhry) before settling in Australia to raise his family in 1997, owning a variety of small businesses including the Gaffney Street post office across from the Lincoln Mill’s Centre in Coburg from 2005-2011. Currently, Iliass works part time at a local newsagency and is an avid Bridge player and a dedicated grandfather of one.
Dimitri Troaditis works in the Greek-Australian media. As a poet he has been extensively published in Greece and in Australia in numerous literary journals, websites, blogs and anthologies. He has published six poetry collections and two social history books so far. He has organised poetry readings in Melbourne for years and translates others’ poetry. He runs poetry website To Koskino and was a resident of Coburg for 19 years.
Luisa Lana was born in Australia in 1953. Her mother Nannina had arrived in Australia in 1950 with a 3 month old son, and worked for many years on the sewing room floors and her father Angelo worked on the docks where he helped unionise the Italian workforce. Luisa and her brother were latchkey kids, as they looked after themselves in the morning and ran the ‘Continental’ deli in the evenings. Luisa attained a teaching degree, then a postgrad in Social Sciences, and twice studied Italian at The University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Luisa married Luigino Lana, a Venetian migrant who operated a mechanic business in Brunswick for over 30 years. She devoted her life to being an educator and a mother, teaching Italian to English speakers and English to generations of migrants from around the world. Currently Luisa is translating her father's memoirs from Italian to English, and enjoying being a Nonna.
Anabelle Lacroix is a French-Australian curator, writer and radio contributor. Working independently in Paris, she is based at Fondation Fiminco for a year-long residency focused on the politics of sleeplessness (2020). She has a broad practice, and a current interest in experimental practice, working with performance, sound, discourse and publishing. She is a PhD candidate at UNSW Art & Design.
Geoff Robinson is a Melbourne-based artist working on Wurundjeri country. Robinson creates event-based artworks that utilise the temporal qualities of sound and performance and the spatial conditions of physical sites to unravel the durational layers of place. Robinson has presented projects with Titanik, Turku; Bus Projects, Melbourne; Liquid Architecture, Melbourne; and MoKS, Mooste, Estonia. He was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2014 and completed the PhD project Durational Situation at MADA, Monash University, Melbourne, 2018.
Mattin is a cross disciplinary artist working with noise, improvisation and dissonance. His work Social Dissonance was presented at documenta 14 in 2017 in Kassel and Athens.
Elena Biserna is a scholar and independent curator based in Marseille (France), working at the intersection of social, political and public spheres.
Tobi Maier is the director of Lisbon’s Municipal Galleries, and recently presented Mattin’s Expanding Concert (2019–2023) a four year long concert distributed in time and space through different media: 5 public interventions in 5 different galleries in Lisbon, and 5 texts published within the city.
Clare Milledge is an artist and academic, she lives and works between the lands of the Arakwal people in Bundjalung country (Broken Head, Northern NSW) and the lands of the Bidjigal and Gadigal people (Paddington, Sydney). She is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design and is represented by STATION gallery.
Alexander Powers is a choreographer, performer and DJ from Naarm. In 2019 they premiered their first full length choreographic work Time Loop at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, receiving the Temperance Hall Award at the Fringe Awards. Under the moniker Female Wizard, they are known internationally for their forward-thinking DJ sets. They’ve performed at Golden Plains, Dark Mofo, Boiler Room, Hybrid Festival and Soft Centre and held a four year residency at Le Fag.
Zoe Scoglio’s (often collaborative) practice explores the space of art as a site of study and sociality to engage the radical imagination towards alternative ways of being, knowing and relating. Current research takes critical and collective somatic approaches towards response-ability in these times of ecological collapse, within settler colonial conditions. Past projects have taken place within varied contexts, on top of mountains and under full moons, as large collective choreographies and intimate encounters.
Tricky Walsh is a non-binary artist working in New Norfolk, Tasmania, who works both collaboratively and in a solo capacity. Their projects focus on both spatial and communication concerns in an increasingly speculative manner and while they use a diversity of media (architecture, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, sound, film, comics, radio) it is foremost the concept at hand that determines which form of material experimentation occurs within these broader themes.
Kengné Téguia is a Black Deaf HIV+ cyborg artist, who works from sound deafinitely. #TheBLACKRevolutionwillbeDEAFinitelyLoud
Angela Goh is a dancer and choreographer. Her work poses possibilities for disruption and transformation inside the aesthetics and conditions of technocapitalism, planetarity, and the post-anthropocene. She lives and works in Sydney, and has toured her work across Australia, Europe, the UK, the USA and Asia. She received the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award and the inaugural Sydney Dance Company Beyond the Studio Fellowship 2020-21.
Jannah Quill’s deconstructive exploration of electronic instruments and technologies manifests in electronic music production and experimental audio-visual performance and installation. Jannah modifies existing technologies (such as solar panels) into innovative light-to-audio systems, used with software/hardware experimentation and modular synthesis to carve a distinct voice in electronic music and art.
Tom Smith is an artist, musician, writer and researcher. Narrative 001: The Things We Like was created by Tom Smith, with music by Utility/Austin Benjamin.
His work is concerned with the tyranny and poetics of computational systems, the politics of creative economies, emerging digital subjectivities, planetary futures and music as a mode of critical inquiry. He has worked across speculative fiction, video, curatorial projects, live performance, websites, critical writing and electronic music. Thomas produces music as T.Morimoto, is one half of production duo Utility, and runs independent label Sumactrac with Jarred Beeler (DJ Plead) and Jon Watts.
Thomas’ works have been exhibited and/or performed at institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Unsound Festival (Poland), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Fondation Fiminco (Paris), Cashmere Radio (Berlin), Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), Nasjonalmuseet (Oslo), Floating Projects (Hong Kong), Goldsmiths College (London), Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney), Queensland University Art Museum (Brisbane), Alaska Projects (Sydney) and Blindside Gallery (Melbourne). Thomas’ writing has been published in Realtime Magazine, Runway Journal, Un Magazine and Plates Journal.
Pris Roos grew up in Rhenen, the Netherlands. Her family migrated from Bogor, Indonesia, to start their own toko in the Netherlands. Toko is the Indonesian word for shop, and they sell non-Western food (products). Roos grew up in the toko, a space of being together, and full of colours, smells, food, stories and images of immigrants. The toko is a source of inspiration for her artistic practices. Stories that are normally not heard find their way in her works. Roos makes portraits of immigrants that she meets in the toko, on the streets or in her surroundings of the South of Rotterdam. She visits them at home or invites them to her atelier. The stories are translated into painted portraits, videos, installations and spoken word performances.
Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian writer and arts worker from Mt Druitt. She is the general manager of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Sydney University. Winnie’s work has been published in the HuffPost Australia, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review, Meanjin Quarterly, SBS Voices and Cordite. She is the editor of several anthologies including Sweatshop Women, The Big Black Thing and Bent Not Broken. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel as the recipient of a 2019 CAL Ignite Grant.
Jon Watts is a Melbourne/Naarm based musician, designer, 3D artist and animator. His music has been released through cult labels SUMAC and Butter Sessions, and he is currently Senior Multimedia Installer at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Pan-Pan Kolektiva was established in March 2020, as a research group on listening. Pan-Pan is a standard emergency call based on the acronym Pan which stands for Pay Attention Now.
Nathan Gray is an artist whose recent works use voice as their medium, taking form as lecture-performances, radio-plays and documentaries, DJ sets, narrative and rumour.
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Leighton Craig is an artist living in Meanjin/Brisbane. He has been in a number of bands (The Lost Domain, G55, The Deadnotes et al) and is currently a member of the duo Primitive Motion with Sandra Selig.
Anne Zeitz is associate professor at University Rennes 2. Her research focuses on aural attention, the inaudible, the unheard, and the polyphony in contemporary art. She directed the research project 'Sound Unheard' and she co-organised the eponymous exhibition at the Goethe-Institut Paris, Paris and exhibition 'Échos magnétiques” at the MBA Rennes, Rennes in 2019.
Melissa Johnson is Associate Professor of Art History & Visual Culture at Illinois State University (Normal, IL). Her scholarly research focuses on the histories of craft and its intersections with modern and contemporary art. She is currently working on a project that explores artists making work in response to the writings of Virginia Woolf. She’s deeply interested in situating her academic writing and her textile-based work as parallel practices, and is working on two writing and textile projects, “Woolf Words” and “Haptic Investigations,” and a project on mending and repair.
Diego Ramirez makes art, writes about culture, and labours in the arts. In 2018, he showed his video work in a solo screening by ACCA x ACMI and he performed in Lifenessless at West Space x Gertrude Contemporary in 2019. His work has been shown locally and internationally at MARS Gallery, ACMI, Westspace, Torrance Art Museum, Hong-Gah Museum, Careof Milan, Buxton Cotntemporary, WRO Media Art Biennale, Human Resources LA, Art Central HK, Sydney Contemporary, and Deslave. His words feature in Art and Australia, NECSUS, un Projects, Runway Journal, Art Collector, and Australian Book Review. He is represented by MARS Gallery, Editor-at-large at Running Dog and Gallery Manager at SEVENTH.
Noemie Cecilia Huttner-Koros is a queer Jewish performance-maker, writer, dramaturg, poet, teaching artist and community organiser living and working on Whadjuk Noongar country in Boorloo (Perth). Her practice is driven by a deep belief in the social, political and communal role of art and performance and in engaging with sites and histories where queer culture, composting and ecological crisis occur.
Josten Myburgh is a musician based on Whadjuk Noongar boodja country who plays with techniques from the worlds of electro-acoustic music, radio art, free improvisation, field recording and experimental composition. He co-directs exploratory music label Tone List and the Audible Edge festival. He has performed in South Africa, the United States, and throughout South East Asia, Europe and Australia. He is a Schenberg Fellow and a student of Antoine Beuger and Michael Pisaro.
Aisyah Aaqil Sumito is an artist and writer living near Derbarl Yerrigan on Whadjuk Noongar Bibbulmun lands. Their work reflects mostly on personal intersections of disability, queerness and diasporic ancestry in so-called 'australia'. They have recently made text-based contributions to Runway Journal and HERE&NOW20: Perfectly Queer, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.
Michael Terren is a musician and educator from Boorloo/Perth. Grounded in experimental studio-based practice, his work explores the social construction of the technologies of music’s creation and distribution. He is a sessional academic teaching music at two Boorloo universities, and in 2019 finished a PhD thesis entitled 'The grain of the digital audio workstation'.
Joee Mejias is a musician and video artist from Manila. She is co-producer of WSK, the first and only international festival of digital arts and new media in the Philippines and co-founder of HERESY, a new platform for women in sound and multimedia. She performs as Joee & I: her avant-pop electronica solo project.
Myriad Sun are an experimental audio/visual/rap trio from Walyalup (Fremantle), Australia, composed of electronic producer Ben Aguero, Mc POW! Negro, and Limit Bashr. Additional performers: Mali Jose, Billy Jack Narkle and Polly-Pearl Greenhalgh.
Jasmine Guffond is an artist and composer working at the interface of social, political, and technical infrastructures. Focused on electronic composition across music and art contexts her practice spans live performance, recording, installation and custom made browser add-ons. Through the sonification of data she addresses the potential of sound to engage with contemporary political questions and engages listening as a situated-knowledge practice.
Sounding Together comprise of the following performers: Rhys Butler (alto saxophone); Simon Charles (soprano saxophone, shakuhachi); Eduardo Cossio (electronics, writing); Luke Cuerel (alto saxophone); Jim Denley (flute, writing); Julia Drouhin (voice, electronics, objects, images); Jameson Feakes (mandolin); Be Gosper (voice, objects); Noemie Huttner-Koros (voice, writing); Lenny Jacobs (percussion); Annette Krebs (amplified string instrument); Annika Moses (voice, images); Josten Myburgh (clarinet, alto saxophone, editing); Dan O’Connor (mastering); Stuart Orchard (guitar, objects, editing); Daisy Sanders (voice, movement).
Yan Jun, a musician based in Beijing uses a wide range of materials such as field recording, body, noise and concept. Yan Jun: “I wish I was a piece of field recording.”
Katie West is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives on Noongar Ballardong boodja and belongs to the Yindjibarndi people of the Pilbara tablelands in Western Australia. The process and notion of naturally dyeing fabric underpin her practice – the rhythm of walking, gathering, bundling, boiling up water and infusing materials with plant matter. The objects, installations and happenings that Katie creates invite attention to the ways we weave our stories, places, histories, and futures.
Simon Charles is a composer and performer based in Noongar Ballardong Country (Western Australia). His practice reflects an interest in the instability of compositional structures; as friction between musical notation and perception and interactions with place. He has performed at Serralvés Festival (Porto), The Wulf (Los Angeles) Studio Rotor (Berlin), Vigeland Mausoleum (Oslo), Avantwhatever Festival (Melbourne), DATA (Marseille), ANAM Quarttethaus and the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Tiarney Miekus is a writer, editor and musician based in Naarm/Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow (Online), Overland, Memo Review, un Magazine, Art Guide Australia, Swampland and RealTime. She is currently editor and podcast producer at Art Guide Australia.
Liang Luscombe is a Naarm/Melbourne-based visual artist whose practice encompasses painting, sculpture and moving image that engage in a process of generative questioning of how media and film affect audiences.
Thembi Soddell is a sound artist best known for their powerful acousmatic performances and installations in darkness. In 2019 they were awarded a PhD from RMIT University for their practice-based research titled, A Dense Mass of Indecipherable Fear: The Experiential (Non)Narration of Trauma and Madness through Acousmatic Sound. This research developed a novel approach to understanding lived experiences of anxiety, depression and trauma using a medium (abstract sound) with the unique ability to reflect the intangible nature of the inner world.
James Parker is an academic at Melbourne Law School and long-time associate curator with Liquid Architecture. His work explores the many relations between law, sound and listening. He is currently working on machine listening with Joel Stern and Sean Dockray.
Eloise Sweetman loves art, misses her home in Western Australia, all the time loving Rotterdam where she became friends with Pris Roos whose artwork Sweetman speaks of. Sweetman is a curator, artist, writer and teacher working in intimacy, not knowing and material relation. She started Shimmer with Dutch-Australian artist Jason Hendrik Hansma in 2017.
Cecilia Vicuña's work dwells in the not yet, the future potential of the unformed, where sound, weaving, and language interact to create new meanings.
'In January 1966, I began creating precarios (precarious) installations and basuritas, objects composed of debris, structures that disappear, along with quipus and other weaving metaphors. I called these works 'Arte Precario', creating a new independent category, a non-colonized name for them. The precarios soon evolved into collective rituals and oral performances based on dissonant sound and the shamanic voice. The fluid, multi-dimensional quality of these works allowed them to exist in many media and languages at once. Created in and for the moment, they reflect ancient spiritual technologies—a knowledge of the power of individual and communal intention to heal us and the earth.'
Camila Marambio is a private investigator, amateur dancer, permaculture enthusiast, and sporadic writer, but first and foremost, she is a curator and the founder/director of Ensayos, a nomadic interdisciplinary research program in Tierra del Fuego.
Las Chinas is the cosmic coincidences led to the meeting of Chileans Sarita Gálvez and Camila Marambio in Melbourne. Their shared reverence for the ancestral flautón chino from the Andes Mountains lead to playful explorations of its unique dissonant sounds and thereafter to experimenting with atonal signing and other technologies of the spirit.
Influenced by Chilean feminist poet Cecilia Vicuña, the now deceased poet Fidel Sepúlveda, the musical ensemble La Chimuchina and the chino bands from the townships of La Canela and Andacollo, Las Chinas honours the ancestral tradition by enacting the principle of tearing each other apart.
Bryan Phillips A.K.A. Galambo is a Chilean/Australian artist working in community arts, music and performance, using sound as a means to facilitate engagement with others. His practice has mainly been developed in Chile, but after completing his Masters in Community Cultural Development (VCA-2013) he has become involved in projects with artists from Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia.
Douglas Kahn is an historian and theorist of energies in the arts, sound in the arts and sound studies, and media arts, from the late-nineteenth century to the present. He lives on unceded Dharug and Gundungurra land. His books include Energies in the Arts (MIT Press, 2019); Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (University of California Press, 2013); Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999); Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of Digital Arts, edited with Hannah Higgins (University of California Press, 2012); and Source: Music of the Avant-garde, edited with Larry Austin (University of California Press, 2011).
André Dao is a writer, editor, researcher, and artist. His debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He is also the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention and a producer of the Walkley-award winning podcast, The Messenger. He is a member of the Manus Recording Project Collective.
Poppy de Souza is a Meanjin (Brisbane) based researcher affiliated with Griffith University and UNSW. Her work focuses on the politics of voice and listening—broadly defined—in conditions of inequality and injustice, including the relationship between sound, race, and conditions of (not) being heard. Poppy has previously worked in community arts and cultural development (CACD), and with the national Film and Sound Archive as a curator on australianscreen.
Andrew Brooks is an artist, writer, and teacher who lives on unceded Wangal land. He is a lecturer in media cultures at UNSW, one half of the critical art collective Snack Syndicate, and a member of the Rosa Press Collective. Homework, a book of essays co-written with Astrid Lorange, was recently published by Discipline.
Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. He was writer for the Kurdish language magazine Werya. He writes regularly for The Guardian and several other publications. Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, and author of No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison. He was held on Manus Island from 2013 until 2019.
Emma Russell is a critical carceral studies scholar and senior lecturer in crime, justice and legal studies at La Trobe University, Australia. She researches and writes on policing and criminalisation, prisons, detention, and activism. Emma is the author of Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing (2020) and co-author of Resisting Carceral Violence: Women’s Imprisonment and the Politics of Abolition (2018).
Dylan Martorell is an artist and musician based in Narrm/Melbourne Victoria. He is a founding member of Slow Art Collective, Snawklor, Hi God People, and Forum of Sensory Motion. He has performed and exhibited internationally, including projects with; Art Dubai, Asian Art Biennale, Tarrawarra Biennale, Jakarta Biennale and Kochi Muzirus Biennale. His work often combines site-specific materiality and music to create temporary sites for improvised community engagement.
Jim Denley is one of Australia's foremost improvisers. Over a career spanning four decades his work has emphasised the use of recording technologies, collaboration, and a concern with site-specificity.
Noah Simblist works as a curator, writer, and artist with a focus on art and politics, specifically the ways in which contemporary artists address history. He has contributed to Art in America, Terremoto, Art Journal and other publications.
He is also an Associate Professor of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Jacqui Shelton is an artist and writer born on Barada Barna land, central QLD, and based in Narrm, Melbourne. Her work uses text, performance, film-making and photography to explore the complications of performance and presence, and how voice, language, and image can collaborate or undermine one another. She is especially interested in how emotion and embodied experience can be made public and activated to reveal a complex politics of living-together, and the tensions this makes visible. She has produced exhibitions and performance works in association with institutions including Gertrude Contemporary, the Institute of Modern Art, West Space, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Tarrawarra Museum, and with Channels Festival and Liquid Architecture. Shelton has shown work internationally in Milan at Care-Of, and at NARS Inc in New York City. She teaches photography at Monash University and in the Masters of Media program at RMIT, and holds a PhD from Monash University.
A Hanley is an artist currently living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne, Australia. Their practice uses sound and media to explore relations among queer ecologies, attunement, situatedness, and speculative practices. Engaging forms of performance, installation, and collaboration, Hanley's work is interested in audition as an affective practice and the possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and non-humans.
Patrick Hase is a digital media artist and researcher, focusing on work that often involves digital interfaces, experimental web design, and collaborative a/v. The entwined practical and theoretical aspects of his work are interested in exploring the embedded cultural and emotional impacts of how people are extended into the virtual via digital processes and designs.
Xen Nhà is a documentary maker and artist with a background in creating intimate dialogues and storytelling across sound, film, and texts. Their work explores the confluence between personal and collective narratives and the cultural politics and responsibility of listening. They are currently living in Melbourne on unceded Wurundjeri Country.
Philip Brophy writes on music, among other things.
Coco Klockner is an artist and writer living in New York City. Recent exhibitions include venues such as The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred, NY; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn; Guadalajara90210, CDMX; The Luminary, St. Louis; Bass & Reiner, San Francisco; Lubov, New York; ONE Archives, Los Angeles; and Egret Egress, Toronto. They are the author of the book K-Y (Genderfail, 2019) and have published writing with Montez Press, Real Life Magazine, Spike Art Magazine, and Burnaway.
Lu Yang (b. Shanghai, China) is a multimedia artist based in Shanghai. Mortality, androgyny, hysteria, existentialism and spiritual neurology feed Lu’s jarring and at times morbid fantasies. Also taking inspiration and resources from Anime, gaming and Sci-fi subcultures, Lu explores his fantasies through mediums including 3D animation, immersive video game installation, holographic, live performances, virtual reality, and computer programming. Lu has collaborated with scientists, psychologists, performers, designers, experimental composers, Pop Music producers, robotics labs, and celebrities throughout his practice.
Lu Yang has held exhibitions at UCCA (Beijing), MWoods (Beijing), Cc Foundation (Shanghai), Spiral (Tokyo), Fukuoka Museum of Asian Art (Fukuoka, Japan), Société (Berlin), MOCA Cleveland (Cleveland, Ohio). He has participated in several international biennials and triennials such as 2021 Asia Society Triennial (New York), 2012 & 2018 Shanghai Biennial, 2018 Athens Biennale, 2016 Liverpool Biennial, 2016 International Digital Art Biennale (Montreal), Chinese Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale, and 2014 Fukuoka Triennial. In 2020, Lu Yang was included in Centre Pompidou’s exhibition Neurons, simulated intelligence in Paris. In 2019, Lu was the winner of the 8th BMW Art Journey and started the Yang Digital Incarnation project.
Dr. Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Internationally Known Private Ear
Serving Industries of Culture Since 2007
Licensed & Bonded: Goldsmiths College, University of London
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Bureaus: Beirut, Berlin, Dubai, London
Nico Niquo, a.k.a Nico Callaghan, works and lives in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. Since 2015, he has produced and released music under a variety of monikers with the North American label Orange Milk Records and Australian label Daisart. He has performed across Australia, East Asia, and Europe.
Emma Ramsay is active across experimental dance and DIY music; sound performance; and other text collaborations. She works in community media and archives.
Jared Davis is a writer and curator based in London with an interest in independent music, sound culture, and its politics. He is Associate Editor of AQNB and co-host of the editorial platform’s Artist Statement podcast.
James Hazel is a composer/artist/researcher based on the unceded Gadigal land of the Eora Nation. As someone who lived in an underclass (social-housing) community for fourteen years, James employs extended score practices across sound, music, utterance, and (re)performance to interrogate what it means to live, love, and listen under precarity – stemming from both lived/researched experiences of poverty. As an advocate in this area, James has commissioned several artists from low-SES backgrounds through ADSR Zine.
In recent years, James has 'worked' for the dole; various call centres; and, more recently, as a casual academic in musicology at USYD. In 2021, James was selected as one of the ABC Top 5 Researchers (Arts).
Frances Barrett is an artist who lives and works on Kaurna land in Tarntanya/Adelaide. Frances is currently Lecturer in Contemporary Art at University of South Australia.
Allison Gibbs is an artist living and working on Djaara Country/Maldon, Victoria. She is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University Art, Design and Architecture (MADA).
Mouth Making an Orifice has been adapted for OOO/LA from a part of Allison’s doctoral research (Orificing as Method).
Sound Mastering: Casey Rice is an audio doula living and practicing on Djaara Country/Castlemaine, Victoria.
Ander Rennick is a graphic artist based in Melbourne interested in the fetishisation of editorial, pedagogical, pornographic and mimetic commodities.
V Barratt is a trans-media artist, researcher, writer, and performer living on Kaurna Yarta, Adelaide.
Ivan Cheng's recent works are context specific situations, dealing with language and driven by relations with collaborators and hosts. His background as a performer and musician form the basis for using performance as a critical medium. Invested in questions around publics and accessibility, he produces videos, objects, paintings and publications as anchors for the staging of complex and precarious spectacles. His work is presented internationally, and he has initiated project space bologna.cc in Amsterdam since 2017.
Sage J Harlow received a PhD from WAAPA exploring improvised ritual magick using extra-normal vocal technique. She performs under the moniker Sage Pbbbt. Her work is inspired by Tuvan and Mongolian throat singing, Inuit throat singing, extreme metal, sound poetry and an ongoing exploration of extra-normal vocal technique. As well as industrial musick, trance, and drone; insight meditation practice, shamanism and chaos magick; feminist, queer and trans praxis; and Discordianism. As well as a vocalist, Sage plays percussion, bass and theremin. She creates sample-based electronic music and writes text scores that explore the ethics and politics between the players and composer.
Archie Barry is an interdisciplinary visual artist working with a trans politics of quietude. Their practice is autobiographical, somatic, and process-led, and spans performance, video, music production, and writing. Cultivating a genealogy of personas, they produce self-portraiture that brings to question dominant notions of personhood and representation.
Mara Schwerdtfeger is a composer / curator / audio producer based in Eora / Sydney. She plays the viola and collaborates with her laptop to create live performances and recorded pieces for film, dance, and gallery spaces.
Suvani Suri is an artist and researcher based in New Delhi, India. She works with sound, text and intermedia assemblages and has been exploring various modes of transmission such as podcasts, auditory texts, sonic environments, maps, objects, installations, workshops and live interventions. In recent years, her work has been exhibited at Khoj Studios (2014), 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018), Mumbai Art Room (2018), Sound Reasons Festival VI (2018), Khoj Curatorial Intensive South Asia (2019), Five Million Incidents (2020). Alongside this, she has been teaching at several universities and educational spaces where her pedagogical interests conflate with a critical inquiry into the digital and sonic sensorium.
Aasma Tulika is an artist based in Delhi. Her practice locates technological infrastructures as sites to unpack how power embeds, affects, and moves narrative making processes. Her work engages with moments that disturb belief systems through assemblages of video, zines, interactive text, writings and sound. Aasma was a fellow at the Home Workspace Program 2019-20, Ashkal Alwan, her work has appeared in Restricted Fixations, Abr_circle, Khoj Art+Science program, HH Art Space. She is a member of the collective -out-of-line-, and collaboratively maintains a home server hosting an internet radio station. She is currently teaching at Ambedkar University Delhi.
Luke Conroy is a Tasmanian multidisciplinary artist currently based in The Netherlands. With a background in sociology and arts education, Luke’s artistic practice engages with socio-cultural topics in meaningful yet playful ways, utilising humour and irony as essential tools for critical reflection and expression. The outcome of his work utilises an ever-evolving multimedia and audio-visual practice which includes photography, digital-art, video, sound, VR, textile, text, and installation.
Julius Killerby is an artist living and working in London. His work focuses on the psychological ripple effects of certain cultural and societal transformations. Part of Julius’ practice also includes portraiture, and in 2017 he was nominated as a finalist in the Archibald Prize for his portrait of Paul Little. His work has been exhibited at VCA Art Space, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, and Geelong Gallery.
Daniel Jenatsch makes interdisciplinary works that explore the interstices between affect and information. His work combines hyper-detailed soundscapes, music and video to create multimedia documentaries, installations, radio pieces, and performances. He is the winner of the 2020 John Fries award. His works have been presented in exhibitions and programs at ACCA, UNSW, Arts House, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Athens Biennale, NextWave Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Liquid Architecture Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the MousonTurm, Frankfurt.
Shareeka Helaluddin is a sound artist, DJ, producer at FBi Radio and community facilitator working in queer mental health. Creating under the pseudonym akka, her practice is concerned with drone, dissonance, memory, ritual, generative somatics and a pursuit of deeper listening. She is currently creating on unceded Gadigal and Wangal lands.
Austin Benjamin, known for his stage name Utility, is a Sydney-based music producer, artist & founder of the label Trackwork. He’s released projects through Room 40, Sumac, HellosQuare, and produced music for releases on labels including Universal NZ, AVTV, Warner & 66 Records. In 2019 Utility & close collaborator T. Morimoto released Nexus Destiny featuring a collection of 60 arpeggios made entirely with software synthesisers, released on Melbourne-based label Sumac.
Earlier this year Utility performed alongside T Breezy, Walkerboy, Sevy & Bayang at Sydney Opera House’s Barrbuwari event. Austin has previously composed and performed new works for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and University of Queensland Art Museum with T. Morimoto, and MONA FOMA Tasmania with turntablist Martin Ng and has exhibited audio-visual gallery works including ‘Strategic Innovation’ with Coen Young at Kronenberg Wright, Sydney.
Uzma Falak is a DAAD doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Heidelberg where her work focuses on the intersection of sound, time and violence. Her poetry, essays, and reportage have appeared in publications like Guernica, The Baffler, Adi Magazine, Al Jazeera English, Warscapes, The Caravan and several edited volumes and anthologies. She won an honourable mention in the Society for Humanistic Anthropology’s Ethnographic Poetry Award (2017). Her film, Till Then The Roads Carry Her, exploring Kashmir women’s repertories of resistance, has been screened at the Art Gallery of Guelph (Guelph), University of Copenhagen, University of Warsaw, Karlstorkino (Heidelberg), Tate Modern, and others.
Laura McLean is a curator, writer, and researcher based in Naarm Melbourne. She is an Associate Curator at Liquid Architecture, member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S), and is currently undertaking a PhD in Curatorial Practice at MADA, Monash University. Past curatorial projects include CIVICS, Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery, Melbourne (2020); Startup States, Sarai-CSDS, Delhi (2019); and Contingent Movements Archive, Maldives Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Her writing is included in edited books published by Arena, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the MIT Press, among others, and has been published by journals including Eyeline, Realtime, HKW Technosphere Magazine, and ArtAsiaPacific.
Mehak Sawhney is a scholar, curator, and activist with research interests in sound and media cultures of South Asia. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University. Funded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, her doctoral project explores audio and targeted state surveillance in postcolonial India. She has also been associated with Sarai-CSDS in Delhi since 2017. Previously, her ethnographic work has studied urban sound and listening cultures as well as the politics of machine listening and voice interfaces in contemporary India. Her academic and public writing has been published in Media, Culture & Society, Amodern, and The Wire, among others.
Joy Zhou is a China born emerging artist and design practitioner based in Naarm/Melbourne. Informed by their background in Interior Design, Joy’s practice entails gestures of queering which unfold encounters and events that draw relationships between people, places, and spaces.
Claire G Coleman is a Noongar writer, born in Western Australia, and now based in Naarm. Her family have been from the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun on the south coast of WA since before time started being recorded. Claire wrote her black&write! Fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie (2019) was her second novel and in 2021 her acclaimed non-fiction book, Lies, Damned Lies was published by Ultimo Press. Enclave is her third novel. Since mid 2020 Claire has also been a member of the cultural advisory committee for Agency, a Not-for-profit Indigenous arts Consultancy.
Jolyon Jones is a Berlin-based student of fine arts at the University of Arts Berlin. He works primarily between sculpture, drawing, print media and sound. With an interest in practices of labour, Jolyon draws upon his background in anthropology exploring embedded concepts through research and architecture and the latent possibilities of everyday materials such as concrete, graphite, and silicone to access speculative narratives and the construction of mementos.
Martina Becherucci graduated in Cultural Heritage at the University of Milan and is currently completing her studies with a Master degree in Economics and Management of Arts and Cultural Activities at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. Martina loves being in contact with visitors in museums and galleries, during temporary exhibitions and cultural events.
Damiano Bertoli was an artist and writer who worked across drawing, theatre, video, prints, installation and sculpture.
With works of great humour and intelligence, Bertoli was best known for his ongoing series Continuous Moment, which sprawled a range of mediums across multiple works, ultimately circulating on time itself. His practice gravitated toward aesthetic and cultural moments, particularly related to his birth year of 1969.
Penelope Cain is interested in landscape in its widest definition, from the extracted, transformed and occupied landscapes of the Anthropocene, to the emergent Post-Carbon.
Her art practice is located interstitially between scientific knowledge and unearthing connected and untold narratives in the world. She works across media and knowledge streams, with scientists, datasets, people, stories, and land, to connect yet to be heard storytellings from the present and near future. She was awarded the Fauvette Loureiro Travelling Scholarship, Glenfiddich Contemporary Art Residency and is currently undertaking a one year S+T+ARTS residency in the Hague, for Rewild, Maxxi, Rome.
Jason De Santolo (Garrwa and Barunggam) is a researcher & creative producer based in the School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He has worked with his own communities as an activist and advocate using film and performance, protest and education to bring attention to injustices and design solutions using Indigenous knowledge.
Kynan Tan is an artist interested in the relations and conditions of computational systems, with a focus on data, algorithm, networks, materiality, control, and affect. These areas are explored using computer-generated artworks that take the form of simulations, video, sound, 3d prints, text, code, and generative algorithms.
Snack Syndicate, two rats (Andrew Brooks and Astrid Lorange) living on unceded Wangal land; texts, objects, events, meals, and publics.
Spence Messih is an artist living and working on Gadigal land. Their practice speaks broadly to sites of pressure, power structures, materiality, and language, and more specifically about these things in relation to their own trans experience.
Tina Stefanou born of Sophia and Yorgios Stefanou is a first/second generation Greek-Australian. Emerging from an East Melbourne hospital on 21 November 1986. She is thirty-four years old. Now based on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people in Wattle Glen, Victoria. With a background as a vocalist, she works undisciplined, with and across a diverse range of mediums, practices, approaches, and labours: an embodied practice that she calls, 'voice in the expanded field'.
Tom Melick is the co-editor of Slug and part of the Rosa Press Collective and Stolon Press.
Trisha Low is a writer living in the East Bay. She is the author of The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions, 2013) and Socialist Realism (Emily Books/Coffee House Press, 2019).
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.’1
Rose Eveleth, ‘Earth’s Quietest Place Will Drive You Crazy in 45 Minutes,’ Smithsonian Magazine, December 17, 2013,
PRIMA FACIE This is a chronicle of a night. Sounds of that night haunt this chronicle.
1 As teenagers growing up in the nineties, we spent hours listening to the sounds of bullets. We would
2 play a little game –– distinguishing the sound of one weapon from the other and trying to ascertain
3 who is firing: .303, sporadic shots, meant the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), AK47 bursts
4 meant the militants. Sound of the Self-Loading Rifle (SLR) and the Light Machine Gun (LMG) indicated
5 that the Border Security Force (BSF) was firing, and the sound of the Universal Machine Gun (UMG)
6 was attributed to the militants. Sound of Mehdi Hassan’s ghazals, in my memory, is inextricably linked
7 with the sound of bullets.
13 Sounds of grenades, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and mine blasts. During the Gawkadal
14 massacre, we also heard Sten guns.
15 I still remember the gunshots I heard during one crackdown. It was the time of the Operation Catch and
16 Kill. We had been asked to assemble in Tangbagh and suddenly we heard gunshots. It turned out that
17 the goalkeeper of our local football team was shot near the hem of the Zabarwan hills.
19 [boots against tarmac and bones] [tinnitus after an explosion] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
20 [This number doesn’t exist] [Simon says shut your eyes] [Simon says stomp your feet] [Simon says drop
21 the bombs] [dialling] [We all fall down] [We all fall down] [How many forms of silence can you identify in
22 this chronicle?] [stutter] [beep] [metal detector doorway] [Am I audible?]
24 Horn of a military jeep. During a crackdown, after men would be asked to assemble outside (in an open
25 space), they would be frisked and paraded before a row of military gypsies. Masked informers, called
26 ‘cats’, would be sitting in these jeeps. A honk from one of these jeeps meant that the person identified
27 would be taken by the army to an undisclosed location. It could mean torture, death, or disappearance.
28 Sounds of nocturnal horror. A commotion caused by sudden haunting noises in the night attributed to
29 supernatural creations like djinn and daen; iron claws and shoes with springs, hopping from one wall to
30 the next, or jumping from roofs. It was later established that this was a military tactic carried out by the
31 Indian army to create fear amongst people.
This is a chronicle of a night. Sounds of that night haunt this chronicle.
PRIMA FACIE Is this a story of sounds, of listening witnesses, or of silences? Is this a story of audibility, or inaudibility? What do you hear when coercion qualifies audibility? What sound does forced inaudibility produce? Is silence quiet?
1 Nights were marked by rumours, fear, and commotion in the village; daen of the folklore had suddenly
2 become real. It was a part of the military’s psychological operations (PsyOps). In defiance, we would
3 bang our tin roofs and drums, signalling each other to be vigilant –– forging a sense of togetherness
4 and community.
6 [dialling] [sound of a weapon] [sound as a weapon] [sound as a form of control] [sound as a tactic to
7 discipline time] [sound as a disruption] [sound as an index of violence] [sound as violence] [a little girl
8 hiding inside her grandmother’s pheran and creating an in-between space of safety against the
9 thumping of the advancing military boots during a search operation] [sounds of liberation] [sound as
10 liberation] [stutter] [freedom] [freedom] [freedom]
12 BBC News radio broadcast.
13 Alif Laila (One Thousand and One Nights ) on television: Alif Laila, Alif Laila, Alif Laila / Har shab nayi
14 kahani/ Dilchasp hai bayaani / Sadiyaa guzar gayi hain / Lekin na ho puraani (Thousand Nights / Each
15 night a new story / Alluring narration / Centuries have passed / Yet so riveting). There was another
16 television series, Yug (Age), aired between 1996 to 1997. Title song: Yug badla badla Hindustan… (A
17 new age, a new India…)
18 One night we heard army vehicles coming to a screeching halt near our house. Search lights darted
19 across our windows. We heard sounds of jackboots marching by our house to the nearby fields. After
20 some time, we heard a person crying in the dead of the night: ‘Kanh chunna? Nebar neeryuv, kanh
21 bachaiyev, kanh neeryuv! Ba chus Sayluk!’ (Is anyone listening? Somebody please come out and save
22 me. I am from the neighbouring village of Sayl!). I remember these cries vividly. No one slept that night
23 and no one dared to come out! Next, we heard a mine blast and the sound of the retreating vehicles.
24 As soon as a call for the dawn prayers reverberated from the mosque loudspeaker, people rushed out
25 only to find that the person whose cries resonated in the night was killed: in the shade of the mighty
26 Chinar tree. People gathered his bones and remains in a sack. Some of his body parts were still
27 lingering on the tree branches. No one in the village cooked meat for weeks.
Is this a story of sounds, of listening witnesses, or of silences?
Is this a story of audibility, or inaudibility?
What do you hear when coercion qualifies audibility?
What sound does forced inaudibility produce?
Is silence quiet?
PRIMA FACIE To most, he was a madman. They called him khish khish, a sound word suggesting the swishing sound of a knife. No one knows exactly why and how this became his moniker. Some say he would say khish khish, endearingly, to admonish children, while also offering them candies and nuts. On my way back from school, I would often find him in the neighbourhood responding in expletives to people who teased him using this moniker.
1 It was winter. Clad in a pheran, I was walking towards my private tuition. A trooper stopped me and
2 asked, ‘What is inside your pheran? Take it out.’ He asked me to fold it and put it over my shoulders and
3 threatened me: ‘Walk straight and if this pheran drops off from your shoulder, I will shoot you.’
4 Tracing the direction and proximity of the gunshots. ‘Kapaer cha gasaan?’ (Where are the firing sounds
5 coming from?) and fretting about a family member who had not yet returned home.
6 I spent my childhood in a house next to an army camp. We would hear the constant barking of dogs
7 guarding the camp. Bollywood patriotic songs and bhajans (devotional songs) would waft in the air.
8 During cricket matches, the camp would resonate with noise and cheering.
10 [beep] [the jangle of keys in her mother’s hands merging with the sound of the boots and the metal of
11 the guns] [ambulance sirens] [a barrage of gun shots –– .303, AK47, LMG] [grenades] [bombs] [loud
12 thuds on doors and windows] [heavy battering on the gate] [sound of the troops barging in]
14 Sound of whistles, for me, means military whistles. You could be walking and a military whistle would
15 mean you would have to stop and turn back and they would ask, ‘Kahan ja rahe ho?’ (Where are you
16 going?), or you would be asked to show your identity card or run an errand for them, ‘Buy us ghutka’
17 (chewing tobacco).
29 We now live near the highway and the continuous rumble of the passing military convoys has become a
30 permanent part of the (sub)urban soundscape.
31 Sounds of rampage during a cordon-and-search operation or a house raid.
32 BBC Urdu Service
33 A sudden thud. Sound of someone jumping from a wall.
34 Chag is a sudden disruption, an interruption, helter-skelter. You could be playing, walking to school, or
35 running an errand, and suddenly the approaching military jeeps would mean there is a Chag!
36 Someone, like a passer-by, would announce it in a state of commotion, and everyone would run. Run.
37 Run. Run. Run. Run. To any random house, towards any refuge; one alley to the next –– only to run into
38 paths that turned into cul-de-sacs.
To most, he was a madman.
They called him khish khish, a sound word suggesting the swishing sound of a knife.
No one knows exactly why and how this became his moniker.
Some say he would say khish khish, endearingly,
to admonish children, while also offering them candies and nuts.
On my way back from school,
I would often find him in the neighbourhood responding in expletives
to people who teased him using this moniker.
PRIMA FACIE I trace his absence, remnant after remnant. Some say he was Rahim. Rahim, one of the attributes of Allah, means merciful. Others say his name was Abdul Rahim: servant of the Merciful.
1 Do you remember Chag? For the longest time, I thought Chag was a gunshot or a particular
2 object, only to realise it is the sound of mayhem, havoc, uproar on the streets, a sudden disruption,
3 people running… And then an abrupt silence. A cacophony followed by an eerie quiet.
5 [paramilitaries occupying the living room for hours to watch Mahabharata — the Hindu mythological
6 epics, serialised and aired by the Indian government–owned public broadcaster Doordarshan — on
7 television, as the little girl and her siblings wait on the porch]
9 There is a particular sound memory I have. It must have been the summer of 1993 or 1994. There was
10 an afternoon crackdown. The army came and all the men were taken out. Day turned to dusk but the
11 crackdown didn’t end. There was a bunker close to our neighbourhood. The nearby four-way had been
12 blocked. Barring one alley, the inner streets too were barricaded by, as they were locally called, the teer
13 fouj (in Kaeshur, one of Kashmir’s native languages, ‘teer’ means feathers and ‘fouj’ refers to the army):
14 these were troopers who wore helmets with nets, scrim, and scraps of camouflage which looked like
15 feathers. Scores of women from my neighbourhood had gathered on a street where there were no
16 troopers. As hours passed by and the crackdown continued, a woman came running and addressing
17 the gathering, announcing in panic: ‘Why are you still here? You all have been widowed. March.’ I
18 remember the distinct sound of women talking, crying, screaming, sloganeering in unison — sculpting
19 a haunting rhythm of its own.
26 Doordarshan used to broadcast an Indian patriotic song: vijay vishwa tiranga pyaara / Jhanda uncha
27 rahe hamara (The victor of the world, our tricolour / Let our flag always fly high), featuring India’s
28 space missions and other images of ‘progress’. In my memory this song has merged with the memory
29 of curfews, search and cordon operations, killings…
30 I have vivid memories of Roja –– a 1992 Indian patriotic and romantic film set against the backdrop of
31 the war in Kashmir, playing on our black and white television. The romance of a newlywed couple is set
32 against the picturesque landscapes of Kashmir –– Bollywood’s dominant trope. However, this film also
33 marks the beginning of Bollywood’s second trope –– Indian patriots versus Kashmir’s ‘terrorists’. The
34 hero is a cryptologist working for India’s intelligence agency, deployed in Kashmir. A particular
35 sequence in the film shows fighters in Kashmir setting fire to the Indian flag. As the patriotic
36 cryptologist tries to douse the fire, his own clothes catch fire. This entire sequence is set to a
37 heightened dramatic music interlaced with chants and the actor’s cries.
38 Chappa chappa charkha chale (Chappa chappa, the spinning wheel turns) –– a song from a 1996
39 Indian film, Maachis (Matchsticks), portraying the rise of the Sikh insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s.
40 Do you remember the bhoot incidents? People said these ‘ghosts’ wore shoes with springs and they
41 jumped from one roof to another. This was India’s Operation Ghost. I remember, in defiance, everyone
42 started banging tin drums and canisters. Neighbours would whistle and cry out to each other.
43 Bass sounds from the boats of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) patrolling in Dal lake.
44 Sound of wooden planks breaking against the bodies of two boys who were chased by the
45 police during a Muharram procession.
46 Sound of the Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) as I stood on the verandah of my house: Zooooooop!
47 It was summer. There was a bunker near our house and we heard rumours that it was going to be
48 attacked. We left our home and sought refuge in a nearby hotel. There was no electricity. I just
49 remember the constant buzz of a swarm of mosquitoes and the uncertainty which gripped our lives.
50 Sound of a vehicle moving over smashed glass on the street.
I trace his absence, remnant after remnant.
Some say he was Rahim. Rahim, one of the attributes of Allah, means merciful.
Others say his name was Abdul Rahim: servant of the Merciful.
51 A boy in our neighbourhood was abducted by the army and tortured. Upon his return, he was lowered
52 onto a mattress laid down in the courtyard. I remember him being out of breath, his gasps and
53 retching, that coalesced into one sound.
54 1993: bullets rained upon our neighbourhood and troops went on a rampage. I remember my mother
55 and I seeking refuge behind a refrigerator as we heard them hurling abuses, shouting, and banging the
56 doors and walls.
57 Loud growl of a trooper: ‘Haaaaaaa! Andar jao!’ (Go inside!)
58 In the 2000s, a heavy blast which shook our classroom created a powerful tremor, a sudden jolt. I
59 haven’t ever heard such a loud sound.
60 When the US invaded Iraq, people marched out in protest in Kashmir. From my classroom window we
61 witnessed one such massive protest: anti-US slogans, sound of batons and tear gas.
62 Sound of ambulance sirens in 2010, 2016…
63 In 2016, when phone lines were suspended, I remember I connected my phone to a stray wi-fi signal
64 and watched the news. A tarana (a religious and/or political song/anthem/hymn) resonated from the
65 mosque loudspeakers: ‘Roti hai Kashmir ki dharti… (In tears, is the land of Kashmir…)
66 I remember a haunting sound from Sanjay Kak’s film, Jashn-e-Azadi: How We Celebrate Freedom –– a
67 1992 video of a massive protest gathering with the entire crowd singing in unison: ‘Sani Kasheeri kya
68 banyo/ Alvida sani shaheedo’ (What has become of our Kashmir / Farewell, our martyrs)
69 In 2010, Everlast’s Stone in My Hand was set to the protest visuals from Kashmir, and was widely
70 circulated (the concept was borrowed from another video: Everlast’s song set to visuals from
71 Palestine): ‘[…] I got no pistol, ain’t got no sword / I got no army, ain’t got no land / Ain’t got nothing but
72 the stone that’s in my hand / Stone in my hand, stone in my hand / […] You build your fighter jets, you
73 drop your bombs / You kill our fathers, you kill our moms / Kill our brothers and our sisters, and our
74 uncles and our aunts / Still I’m fighting with the stone that’s in my hand / Stone in my hand, stone in
75 my hand / […] All the love that’s in my heart and the stone that’s in my hand.’
77 [shattering sound of the glass] [whirring of hovering jets and helicopters] [curfew announcements] [a
78 colour broadcast of a massacre] [drums beat in a military parade]
PRIMA FACIE Before he wandered again and took refuge in a makeshift shack made of tin sheets, he worked as a daily labourer in the fields for a family. He lived with them. I am sitting in the room where he used to sleep. And then he left.
1 I was born in Kargil, but I grew up in Varmul. When I left Kargil for Kashmir, upon reaching Sonamarg, I
2 remember asking, ‘Yahi Kashmir hai?’ (Is this Kashmir?). My only memory of Kargil is playing with
3 stones. It was full of stones, my village. I also remember my grandfather listening to the radio broadcast
4 from Pakistan, or songs in Shina and Balti languages relayed from Pakistan. I was nine years old at the
5 time of the Kargil war. I wasn’t there but I went a year after. The shelling continued for a few years.
6 Shells would travel over my village and hit the nearby mountains. Shuuuuuuuuuuun, the sound of the
7 projectile, followed by a blast. One could actually trace the trajectory of the shells at night.
8 Bollywood songs were a prominent sound of the nineties. Some of these songs, somehow, were
9 strangely relevant to what was happening during that time. The songs from the film Border, for
10 example, were popular, and even though it is an Indian patriotic film, people related these songs to
11 their own contexts.
12 Crackdown announcements. Once, the crackdown lasted for a month. We would leave our homes and
13 assemble on the street every day. During one crackdown, I remember, women in our neighbourhood
14 took some time to leave their homes. Fearing the wrath of the military, they were indecisive as to who
15 should take the lead. They were giggling. It was absurd.
22 Sound of military vehicles. The horns. Dogs barking meant the military was outside: ‘hooin voray,
23 military aay’ (dogs are barking/ the military is here).
25 [buzz of the military wireless sets] [paramilitaries idly listening to All India Radio: Fauji Bhaiyon Ke
26 Liye, a song request radio program dedicated to the Indian troopers]
Before he wandered again and took refuge in a makeshift shack made of tin sheets,
he worked as a daily labourer in the fields for a family. He lived with them.
I am sitting in the room where he used to sleep.
And then he left.
PRIMA FACIE He collected newspapers and used them to cover the window of his tin shed. Why don’t I recall seeing a window?
1 I was in sixth grade. I had to walk for an hour to reach my school. There was an army camp in that
2 neighbourhood and a particularly infamous army major called Chatterji. The Rashtriya Rifles (RR)
3 wouldn’t often step out of their camp, but it was terrifying when they did. People would shutter down
4 their shops and rush inside their homes. ‘What is my name?’ he would ask. ‘Chatterji,’ people replied.
5 ‘Mein kutta hun, kutta bolo mujhe’ (I am a dog. Call me dog), he would retort. I remember it so vividly.
6 He coerced people into calling him a dog and then he would say, ‘Kuta kya karta hai? Kaatta hai’ (What
7 does a dog do? It bites). He would actually bite people! As children, we would walk in clusters holding
8 each other’s hands and we were always on the lookout for new alleys, different pathways, short-cuts to
9 reach home, to avoid running into Chatterji.
11 Bhoot –– part of army’s PsyOps –– was a prominent figure when we were growing up. Springs up their
12 feet, iron claws… Evenings were terror-filled. We wouldn’t venture out after Maghrib prayers. People
13 would bang P Mark oil canisters. We would also beat the tumbakhnaer (an earthen membranophone)
14 and the dhol (drum). There was a saharkhan (Ramdhan drummer) in our neighbourhood who had a
15 dhol. People took turns guarding the neighbourhood and held lanterns and torches.
16 Maghrib azan was like an alarm for us, signalling that we have to go inside. Our village was
17 surrounded by several army camps and they would often patrol late at night in their vehicles or on foot.
18 They would go on a rampage and beat people.
24 We would hear aerial shots just before the Maghrib azan. The firing would last for a long time,
25 sometimes an hour. We had become familiar with this sound. We knew it was the army and not the
27 There was a particular firing which sounded like the tossing of a tennis ball. It was often associated
28 with the militants.
29 Sound of military vehicles –– the smaller 4x4 and the bigger truck. The speed of these vehicles was
30 crucial. Slow speed meant the routine patrol. But if these vehicles whizzed past and then suddenly
31 stopped, it meant trouble.
32 They [army] would coerce people into removing their clothes and then beat them. Whenever we heard
33 this sound while we were in the playground, we would run.
35 [dogs barking] [cusses of drunken soldiers] [drones] [silence] [rattling of the alcohol bottles dangling
36 from the concertina wire] [inaudible] [screeching sounds of military trucks]
38 Crackdown announcements from the mosque loudspeakers: ‘assemble on the ground…. men, women,
39 children… nobody should stay back.’
40 Horn of a military jeep during a crackdown.
41 Sound of grenade guns, rocket launchers, mine blasts.
42 Sound of the army drills, shouting, exhortations…
43 I remember the army camp close to our village had occupied the building of the Power Development
44 Department (PDD). They would play patriotic songs on some sort of a stereo system. They would play
45 songs from the film Border: sandeshe aate hain… (messages [ from home] arrive…)
46 We would listen to Radio Pakistan, Sada-e-Hurriyat (Voice of Freedom) and taranas on the tape
47 recorder. I don’t remember whether these cassettes were locally recorded and mixed or if people ––
48 who crossed the border –– brought them along. But it was sort of a secret listening. The army would
49 punish people listening to these songs. They would beat the listeners, smash or confiscate tape
50 recorders and cassettes. I remember packing all the cassettes in a box and hiding it in the attic.
He collected newspapers and used them to cover the window of his tin shed.
Why don’t I recall seeing a window?
51 In 2019, people were tortured and their cries relayed on loudspeakers. This was already happening in
52 the nineties. Rashtriya Rifles (RR) would torture people inside a school building or a camp and we
53 would hear the cries but Pandra Punjab would perform open interrogations and torture and ask people
54 to witness it.
56 [boots against tarmac and bones] [tinnitus after an explosion] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
57 [This number doesn’t exist] [Simon says shut your eyes] [Simon says stomp your feet] [Simon says
58 drop the bombs] [dialling] [We all fall down] [We all fall down] [How many forms of silence can you
59 identify in this chronicle?] [stutter] [beep] [metal detector doorway] [Am I audible?]
61 Sound of the pumping of a kerosene stove was a sound we associated with torture. I remember this so
62 vividly. As a method of torture, people were forced to sit on a kerosene stove. The military would often
63 perform the ‘interrogation’ inside a government school building. That’s also where people assembled
64 during the crackdown. One of my relatives was also subjected to torture. He fell completely silent after
65 he was released. He wouldn’t talk. He didn’t take a shower for about six months. He hasn’t been well
66 ever since.
67 Something I can’t forget: the last words of my school friend as a bullet hit his chest. He kept saying,
68 ‘take me somewhere, I will die’….
1 The fullest, highest sound was ‘unsound’. We tried, as much as we could, to mute ourselves into
2 complete silence when the troops would be patrolling or shouting or going on a rampage outside. The
3 loudest sound was silence.
5 [dialling] [sound of a weapon] [sound as a weapon] [sound as a form of control] [sound as a tactic to
6 discipline time] [sound as a disruption] [sound as an index of violence] [sound as violence] [a little girl
7 hiding inside her grandmother’s pheran and creating an in-between space of safety against the
8 thumping of the advancing military boots during a search operation] [sounds of liberation] [sound as
9 liberation] [stutter] [freedom] [freedom] [freedom]
11 There was a kerosene tank in our neighbourhood. The troops would often slam it with batons and rifles.
12 Sound of the lowering of shop shutters at the sudden announcement of a curfew.
13 Troops banging shutters, windows, and doors.
14 Sound of jackboots.
15 Sound of the army vehicles coming to a halt or whizzing past.
16 Grenades and gunfire.
17 Announcements of curfew and search-and-cordon operations.
18 There was a bunker outside our home and the troops had installed a tap outside the bunker. I would
19 hear them coughing, or the sound of water running from the tap as they washed their dishes, or the
20 sound of the food truck which would bring them supplies, the clinking sound of the utensils…
21 Sound of rice canisters being overturned by the troops during a search operation.
22 Once, a military vehicle whizzed past our home and they smashed the windows of a room I was in. I
23 shrunk in a corner and from the broken panes of the roshandan, I could see their helmets. I still
24 remember that sound.
25 Once a truck went past our home and after a while we heard screams: moujai, moujai! (Mother,
26 Mother!). Someone was being beaten up by the troops.
27 The troops would sometimes occupy our living room and watch Mahabharata on TV.
28 Mere desh ki dharti… (my country’s soil…) playing on the radio.
29 Announcements of funerals from the mosque loudspeakers.
20 Urdu service of Voice of America, Radio Moscow, BBC.
21 Once, the paramilitaries from the nearby bunker rang our doorbell, and when we didn’t open, they
22 tampered with the switch, inserting a matchstick, such that the bell rang continuously. Sound of
23 protests: Go India Go Back!
24 Malika Pukhraj on the tape recorder as curfews throttled the streets: ye kaun sakhi hain / jin ke lahu ki
25 ashrafiyan –– chan chan chan (who are these generous (youth) / their blood, like golden coins –– clang
26 clang, clang)
28 PRIMA FACIE I trace his absence, remnant after remnant:
I trace his absence, remnant after remnant:
‘He was from a village called Durbagh.’
‘He sold bangles.’
‘He was possessed by fairies.’
‘He owned land which his brothers usurped.’
‘He was forsaken, cast off.’
‘He had no one, asmaan wothmuth zameenas pyomut.’
(From skies to the earth)
PRIMA FACIE Sounds of that night haunt this chronicle. There was a power cut-off. It was winter. January, perhaps. ‘It was a few days after the Indian Republic Day. The military had gone on a rampage in the neighbourhood.’ No one remembers the year. It could have been the late nineties or early 2000s.
1 The border is 10–15km away from Boniyar but it is on a hill. Continuous gola bari (shelling) and
2 dhamake (blasts). Ear-shattering. Once in 1999, the shelling lasted, continuously, for about two months.
3 Our cattle were destroyed. People were injured. Villagers would leave their homes and assemble in
4 underground bunkers. It was loud, very loud. All the sounds together: goliyan, gola bhari, dhamake
5 (bullets, shelling, blasts). Dhamaka bahut zyada hota tha, bohat na bohat (The blasts were frequent,
6 quite frequent). Tinnitus. After that, even the slightest of sounds would make us jolt. The sound of
7 helicopters and jets –– especially when they would fly low –– was deafening.
8 Sound of military parades and everyday puja (Hindu worship rituals) from the nearby army camps.
9 Sound of the army vehicles.
10 Curfew announcements from the mosque loudspeakers.
11 On the hills, we could hear azaan from the other side, traversing the border.
Sounds of that night haunt this chronicle.
There was a power cut-off. It was winter. January, perhaps. ‘It was a few days
after the Indian Republic Day. The military had gone on a rampage in the
neighbourhood.’ No one remembers the year. It could have been the late nineties
or early 2000s.
PRIMA FACIE We heard the ratatat: loud thuds, screams, cries for help, the sound of tin banging. Is it the troopers again?
Whose house tonight? No one dared to go out to see what was happening and no one could sleep. We were coerced into silence. Obedient listening. Our time was stolen. Our nights and days, occupied. We were being punished for reclaiming our time.
1 Chalo chalo, Eidgah chalo! (march, march, to Eidgah we march!). It was 2008 and I was in eighth
2 grade. A massive gathering passed by our home in the Old City. People distributed water and sherbet
3 amongst the marchers. Slogans and taranas echoed from the loudspeakers: Roti hai Kashmir ki
4 dharti… (The land of Kashmir, in tears…)
5 2010, Sound of continuous gunfire. Our kitchen is on the first floor. We took refuge on the ground floor.
6 Most days the military curfew was lifted in the evenings; silence followed by the ordinary sounds of life:
7 people’s voices, chatter, sound of traffic, people running errands, buying supplies…
8 We were having dinner when suddenly news of Burhan’s killing reached us. In no time, protestors
9 played taranas from the mosque loudspeakers. Choun Burhan myon Burhan… (Your Burhan, my
10 Burhan…) In one of the taranas, the word larzan stirred me. I can’t recall the exact line. I just
11 remember a strange emotion taking over me and moving me to tears.
12 In the morning, a police vehicle announced curfew and a shoot-on-sight order. For months, this sound
13 defined our everyday. We would discern the sound of the Rakshaks (lightly armoured vehicles by
14 Mahindra Defence Systems, featuring a steel plating fabricated in Israel) from the one-tonne military
16 Once, the military entered the mosque to disrupt and stop the relay of taranas. The protestors fled.
17 Later, that mosque was locked and prayers disallowed.
19 Troopers would attach the concertina wire to their one-tonne trucks dragging it along the road emitting
20 sparks due to friction. It produced a distinct sound: a cue indicating our streets were being barricaded
21 and turned to cul-de-sacs.
23 [paramilitaries occupying the living room for hours to watch Mahabharata –– the Hindu mythological
24 epics, serialised and aired by Doordarshan –– on TV, as the little girl and her siblings wait on the
27 Often, when the protestors dispersed, paramilitaries would throw stones at the windows. Once, as they
28 were smashing windows in our neighbourhood, we stood in our corridor. Suddenly, we heard very loud
29 sounds. It felt as if the walls were crashing down. We soon realised our windows had been smashed: I
30 still remember the sound. It was followed by a long silence. We, like others in our neighbourhood, didn’t
31 repair the windows. In winters, we reinstalled them but in the summer of that year, our windows were
32 again smashed. We left our homes without windows.
33 In the evenings, after the curfew was lifted, as troopers returned to their camps, protesters would start
34 pelting stones. Sound of stones hitting the Rakshak and the one-tonne trucks. Rain of stones. Sound of
35 the tear gas firing. Sound of pellet guns. Pellets hitting the shop shutters. A sudden shrill sound, like
36 pearls hitting a metal object.
46 Sound of the military shouting. Sound of the military boots.
47 Sound of the ‘encounters’ between the troopers and militants. Recently during an encounter in
48 Novkadal, we heard continuous rounds of firing throughout the night, interspersed with loud booms. It
49 was the month of Ramadhan. Several homes were gutted in that encounter. We could see the flames
50 from our home. Sound of the military vehicles moving towards Novkadal for cordon.
We heard the ratatat: loud thuds, screams, cries for help, the sound of tin banging.
Is it the troopers again? Whose house tonight?
No one dared to go out to see what was happening and no one could sleep.
We were coerced into silence. Obedient listening.
Our time was stolen. Our nights and days, occupied.
We were being punished for reclaiming our time.
1 Sound of ambulances. Sound of the fire brigade.
2 Funeral processions passing by our home.
3 The funeral gathering of my cousin who was martyred in Nayut. A military vehicle ran over him. Police
4 fired tear smoke shells inside our homes. Taranas and sloganeering. Those sounds still resound in my
5 ears. Women singing, karyo goor gooro (Let me cradle you!) Once, I heard a particular tarana,
6 circulated online, which moved me. The same tarana was played at my cousin’s funeral. It was unreal:
7 fasle gul hai ab jahan mein / aye shaheedo tum kahan ho […] sabz o khurram dasht e duniya tumhare
8 gham mein giriyan […] bin tumhare kya baharain, kaisay naghmay, kya taranay / chashm nam hai, lab
9 pe aahein, hum milein ge kab na jane / paas apnay ab bula lo aye shaheedo tum jahan ho… (It is
10 springtime / Oh martyrs, where are you? […] World’s green pastures and deserts are in mourning […]
11 without you what use is the spring, the songs, hymns and melodies / Eyes are moist, sighs on lips, who
12 knows when shall we meet / Oh martyrs call us to the place where you dwell).
13 At his funeral, his younger sister came to whisper in my ears, ‘I have heard those who are martyred
14 should be given honey and water. But I don’t think we have honey. What should we do?’
15 There used to be a textile mill near our home which was occupied by the Central Reserve Police Force
16 (CRPF). Protesters would throw stones which would hit the roof of the mill –– a sound I remember: tak
17 tak tak.
18 In 2021, a mysterious loud explosion-like sound was heard. I first thought something fell from the skies
19 exploding our water tank. It felt like our roof would fall on our heads. I screamed. Some said it was an
20 earthquake or a sonic boom. Others speculated that it might be the army ‘testing’ their explosives.
21 The night before the months-long siege began on 5 August 2019, I remember the last phone call from
22 my brother in Delhi. He asked us to buy emergency stocks. In the morning, all communication lines
23 were snapped. We woke up to the sound of helicopters. Police vehicle announcing curfew and
24 imposition of Section 144. Silence.
25 In October 2020, during the tensions between India and Pakistan, we heard constant sounds of
26 helicopters and jets.
27 In September 2021, Indian Air Force hosted an ‘air show’ over Dal Lake. The drill, before the actual
28 event, went on for two–three days. We heard the continuous sound of the military jets. It was traumatic.
29 I dreamt of an aircraft crashing in a village. These sounds made me anxious.
30 Sound of drones: an amplified sound of buzzing bees. It was clearly audible and distinct from the
32 Sometimes protesters would bang shop shutters and electrical posts to annoy troopers. They would
33 jeer at them and hoot. Once, the troopers were shouting, and in defiance protesters began banging
34 shop shutters, masking the shouts of the troopers. I had recorded this sound. I had also recorded the
35 firing during the encounter at Novkadal and the tear gas shelling from the window of my home. I
36 deleted all the recordings though. And the sound of rain. I have several recordings of that.
37 It is these voices, these disquieting sounds that I grew up with.
PRIMA FACIE At the crack of the dawn when the muezzin’s call to prayers reverberated, people came out, only to find Rahim’s burnt home and his charred remains. Only bones. The cries in the night were his, the screams, the sound of his home burning.
7 I was born in Kargil’s Barsso village but lived in Kargil town most of my life. Kargil is heavily militarised.
8 About 26kms from here, there is a village entirely occupied by the army. I was in primary school at the
9 time of the Kargil war. We saw bombs in the skies and heard the ear-piercing sounds. We had to
10 evacuate our school each time the shelling would begin. We would assemble and seek refuge in
11 another nearby school which had an underground bunker-shelter. We would be there from 10am until
12 an hour before the call for Maghrib prayers. Shelling, bullets, bombs… I still remember these terrorising
13 sounds. A bomb fell close to our school in the backyard, leaving a gaping crater. All the windows were
14 broken. Bursting hoti thi (there would be a bursting). The town was deserted. Villages and homes
15 destroyed. People left behind their homes and moved to relatively safer villages during the war. Or
16 towards the Suru valley. The shelling continued after 1999 as well. Pahad pahad pe, from
17 mountain to mountain [laughs]. Thumping of shells hitting the mountains. Jatka lagta hai (It would
18 shake everything). One of our school mates was injured by a shell splinter.
20 [shattering sound of the glass] [whirring of hovering jets and helicopters] [curfew announcements] [a
21 colour broadcast of a massacre] [drums beat in a military parade]
23 Sound of army vehicles day and night.
24 The army had an ammunition depot ahead of Kargil town. One of the golas (mortar shells) hit the depot
25 producing a loud jatka (jolt). It shook the earth.
26 Several villages like Hunderman are divided across the border. If one goes towards Hunderman, there
27 are warning signs indicating the presence of landmines. There is a shrine –– the tomb of Sheikh Ali
28 Brolmo in Hunderman, which is now on the other side of the border. On his birth anniversary, or during
29 the processions of Ashura, the shrine buzzes with life but we cannot hear anything. We are only able to
30 view these scenes through the binoculars. In 2020, after twenty-two years, during Muharram, people
31 gathered there for the mourning majlis. Elegies were sung over the microphone. Ritual mourning and
32 sermons too.
33 Sounds of the mortar bombs striking the mountains is predominant in my memory. The skies would be
34 full of smoke… a smoke horizon.
At the crack of the dawn when the muezzin’s call to prayers reverberated,
people came out, only to find Rahim’s burnt home and his charred remains.
The cries in the night were his, the screams, the sound of his home burning.
PRIMA FACIE People said he had lit a candle or perhaps burnt scraps of paper to keep himself warm and this had, accidentally, led to the fire. He had been screaming for help, banging the tin walls of his shed.
1 I was born in Kargil, in 1992. So many of our hills are completely occupied by the Indian army and not
2 accessible to people anymore. The border is very close to our village. The army has captured several
3 places; an entire village was evacuated. Hundreds of our goats, my grandfather recalls, were usurped
4 by the army in 1972. Golay aate thay, golay pata hain, golay? (They would shoot artillery shells. You
5 know (mortar) shells, do you?) From 1999 to 2000, we heard constant sounds of artillery, Oooooooo
6 and then damm. Heart stopping. These sounds were ubiquitous. Some shells would also hit the
7 mountains. There was an underground bunker in our home and everyone would assemble there during
8 gola bari (bombardment or artillery shelling). Slowly, we became accustomed to these sounds. In
9 summers, we sometimes went to the roof to trace the trajectory of the shells. Red flashes. They would
10 either go beyond or hit the nearby mountains. My cousin-sister’s foot had to be amputated.
11 Another cousin of mine was also injured.
12 Radio news formed a continuous background score to our lives.
13 There is a hill with Indian army posts. Then there is an empty stretch, a valley which doesn’t belong to
14 India or Pakistan. ‘No man’s land’. And then there are Pakistan’s military posts. Earlier we would take
15 our cattle to graze there. But now it falls under, or is near, the Line of Control. That area is filled with
16 landmines. My village, Budgam, was originally part of Pakistan. After India captured it, migrations took
17 place. Families were divided. Kuch idhar re gaye, kuch udhar reh gaye (some were left behind here,
18 and some on the other side). People who had gone to graze their cattle, between September and
19 October, couldn’t return after the war broke out. Our pasture, Lhasa, is strewn with landmines and is
20 not accessible. Sometimes donkeys would cross the border.
28 Many of our goats were killed due to landmines and several people have also died. These are probably
29 Russian made mines and they are old now. Some of them were diffused recently. Once, we were playing,
30 suddenly we heard a very loud and distinct sound. Later, we found a donkey had died: its stomach
31 shredded to pieces. There was another donkey as well who was still alive, but people couldn’t rescue it
32 and later it died too.
33 Sounds of the army’s aerial firing. I remember we would be playing outside, and we would hear these
34 sounds, everyday around 4pm.
35 The schools under India’s Operation Goodwill called the Sadhbhavna or Goodwill schools would resonate
36 with Jana Gana Mana (Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people), Vande Mataram (Mother, I bow to
37 thee) or Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Long live Mother India). The army invited children inside their camps to
38 watch television –– films, cricket matches, etc. Once, there was a cricket match between India and
39 Pakistan. Shahid Afridi was probably playing, and when he scored two sixes, the crowd cheered in a
40 restrained manner, but after he scored a third sixer, the applause grew louder. Children had to leave, and
41 this invitation to watch television stopped altogether.
43 [buzz of the military wireless sets] [paramilitaries idly listening to All India Radio: Fauji Bhaiyon Ke Liye, a
44 song request radio programme dedicated to the Indian troopers]
46. In the higher reaches, near some army posts, one can still hear the azaan from the other side.
47 During Muharram last year, a marsiya on Kashmir was doing rounds via social media. Later, we sang it in
48 our mourning processions: arz-e-Kashmir par zulm ki inteha / charsun sham-e -gham ku ba ku Karbala
49 (limitless oppression in Kashmir / an all-encompassing night of sorrow, massacre of Karbala
People said he had lit a candle or perhaps burnt scraps of paper to keep himself
warm and this had,
accidentally, led to the fire. He had been screaming for help, banging the tin walls
of his shed.
PRIMA FACIE Rahim. He is buried in the martyrs’ graveyard. No one knows where. Without an epitaph.
1 My family left for Delhi in early 2000s and I grew up there, but I have a memory from Kashmir,
2 particularly of Fridays. From my home, I could hear the Friday sermon echoing from the loudspeaker of
3 Jamia mosque –– Mirwaiz Umar Farooq delivering the sermon: masla-e-Kashmir ka hal (solution of the
4 Kashmir question… ). Hame manzoor nahi hai (we refuse….) or ham is ki shadeed alfaaz mein
5 mazzamat karte hain… (we condemn this in strong words… ) – protesting against a certain decision of
6 the Indian government. The congregation would respond in unison, ‘Shame, Shame, Shame!’ He would
7 assert that we shall never give up on our demands and continue working towards the goal of liberation.
8 The gathering would resound, ‘Zaroor, Zaroor, Zaroor’ (Indeed, Indeed, Indeed). These utterances are still
9 resonant in my memory. After this, the obligatory Arabic Friday sermon would begin and as soon as the
10 prayer ended, as-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah, as-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah (may the peace
11 and mercy of Allah be with you, may the peace and mercy of Allah be with you), we would wait for the
12 sound of the first tear gas shell going off –– a sound cue indicating that the stone pelting had started
13 between the troops and the protestors. Based on the frequency of the tear gas firing, we could determine
14 the intensity of the protests.
15 In the dead of night, the terrifying sound of another language: voices in the ‘other’ language –– Indian
16 troops patrolling outside, conversing in Urdu-Hindi. This could be a night raid or them shouting on
17 streets, banging the doors with their rifles and batons. During winters when my parents and uncle’s
18 family would go to Delhi, the first few weeks of their stay would always be difficult. Hearing a ‘foreign’
19 language (associated with the troops in Kashmir), they would wake up in the middle of the night
20 panting, thinking that the troops had surrounded their house or were patrolling outside, only to realise
21 that they were not in Kashmir but in Delhi, and they could retreat to sleep.
23 [dogs barking] [cusses of drunken soldiers] [drones] [silence] [rattling of the alcohol bottles dangling
24 from the concertina wires] [inaudible] [screeching sounds of military trucks]
26 During the early 2000s, we would often hear grenade explosions around Maghrib prayer time. In one of
27 the explosions, our neighbour died. He must have been in his mid or late twenties.
28 In 2010, during the curfews, if anyone was spotted in the alleyways, paramilitaries would blow whistles,
29 coercing people into retreating to their homes and staying inside. It is a powerful sound that is intended
30 to cause nervousness.
31 Even the sound of firecrackers at midnight triggers anxiety.
Rahim. He is buried in the martyrs’ graveyard.
No one knows where.
Without an epitaph.
Perhaps this is not his story but a story of our silences knifing through history.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘The Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the use of sound cannon, devices that can emit pain-inducing sound waves, on rampaging mobs in the Valley […] Known as Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), the sonic weapon was used for the first time in Pittsburgh, US, to control an agitated crowd during a G20 summit in 2009. […] The use of LRAD has been criticised world over as the sound can cause pain in humans and permanently damage hearing. Official sources said the ministry is clear that the warning tone won’t cross the human threshold of pain and that the forces should be able to control its intensity. The ministry has directed the Central Armed Police Forces to start the process of procuring LRADs while stressing the need for development and manufacture of the sound cannons in the country. […]
162 dB – Max continuous volume of sound cannon.
130 dB – Usual threshold of pain’1
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘Residents of two villages around Chillora army camp say they did not sleep or have any food when they heard cries on a loudspeaker. They allege it was a village boy being tortured, and the loudspeaker was put on to instil fear in the area. “Since then, the screams echo in our ears,” a resident of Turkwangam village says.’2
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘[…] Inside that highland house, the motive was to inflict as much pain as possible, Mohammad Ali recalls. Before he would be taken inside on 1 February, 1993 as a suspect, the townspeople would toss and turn on their beds as the torture cries mixed with music would echo in the air throughout the night. “The torture would be carried out amid loud music to overshadow the painful shrieking voices coming from the house,” recalls Ali, sitting at a twenty minute drive away from the erstwhile torture centre. “At times, adhesive tape would be used around the victim’s mouth, so that the cries wouldn’t get mixed with the music.” […] “My fastened feet were tied to the ceiling of the bunker,” says Ali, turning sullen. “The head used to hang into the ditch of the bunker. In that state, they used to beat me endlessly.” As oiled canes would strike with his flesh, the loud music would bury his shrieks. While shrieking inside, he would hear cries of three other detainees being tortured simultaneously in three separate rooms of the same house.’3
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘Tinnitus is the term for hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than from an outside source. It’s often described as “ringing in the ears”, although several sounds can be heard, including buzzing, humming, grinding, hissing, whistling. In rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus). Pulsatile tinnitus is a rhythmical noise you hear in your head and/or ears that is usually at the same rate as your heart beat.’4
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘The term hyperacusis is generally applied to people who experience the sounds of everyday life as intrusively loud, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful.’5
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘A preponderance of firepower had thus been concentrated at Kargil totaling 300 guns, mortars and Grad BM 21 MBRLs. The latter in Russian means ‘hailstorm’. With forty rockets packed on the back of a single carrier vehicle, the name is certainly appropriate.’6
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘The Indian artillery fired over 2,50,000 shells, bombs and rockets during the Kargil conflict. Approximately 5,000 artillery shells, mortar bombs and rockets were fired daily from 300 guns, mortars and MBRLs while 9,000 shells were fired the day Tiger Hill was regained. During the peak period of assaults, on an average, each artillery battery fired over one round per minute for seventeen days continuously. Such high rates of fire over long periods had not been witnessed anywhere in the world since World War II.’7
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘Over 1,200 rounds of high explosives (HE) rained down on Tiger Hill in the space of five minutes and caused large-scale death and devastation[…] Even 122mm Grad multi-barreled rocket launchers (MBRLs) were employed in the direct firing role. Hundreds of shells and rocket warheads impacted on the pinnacle of Tiger Hill in full view of television cameras — and the nation watched in rapt attention as the might of the regiment of artillery burst forth in magnificent glory […] The 155 mm Bofors medium guns and 105mm Indian field guns firing in the direct firing role from gun positions on the national highway under the nose of the enemy destroyed all visible sangars and forced the enemy to abandon several positions’8
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
‘Despite the controversy over its induction, 155mm FH 77-B Bofors performed remarkably well and was the mainstay of artillery in the operations. Its maximum range of 30km enabled deep strikes on the enemy’s gun positions, administrative installations, ammunition dumps, and headquarters, besides neutralizing forward positions held by the intruders. By moving up these guns, 105mm field guns, 160mm and 120mm Mortars and 122mm GRAD BM 21 Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) into forward gun positions for ‘direct’ fire on enemy localities, literally under the nose of the enemy and thereby inviting certain enemy artillery fire onto themselves, the gunners exhibited unparalleled courage in battle.’9
DNA Web Team, ‘Special Forces Will Use Sound To Disperse Stone-pelters,’ DNA, June 24, 2019, https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-dna-special-special-forces-will-use-sound-to-disperse-stone-pelters-2764310 ↩
Anees Zargar, ‘Shopian: Where Villagers Can’t Sleep as They Hear People ‘Cry’’, Indian Cultural Forum, September 13, 2019, https://indianculturalforum.in/2019/09/13/shopian-where-villagers-cant-sleep-as-they-hear-people-cry/ ↩
Afshan Rashid, ‘The ‘Musical’ Horrors Of Ganderbal’s Highland House,’ Freepress Kashmir, November 20, 2017, https://freepresskashmir.news/2017/11/20/the-musical-horrors-of-ganderbals-highland-house/ ↩
National Health Service, ‘Tinnitus,’ NHS Inform, accessed June 30, 2022, https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/ears-nose-and-throat/tinnitus ↩
Jagjit Singh, ‘Battle-Winning Role of the Gunners in Kargil War,’ Indian Defence Review, January 22, 2019, http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/battle-winning-role-of-the-gunners-in-kargil-war/ ↩
SD Goswami, ‘How artillery changed the tide of the Kargil war,’ The Economic Times, June 13, 2013,
Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Shooting Fire in Kargil: When India’s determined artillery put the love of Allah in Pakistan’s troops,’ DailyO, July 26, 2019,
SD Goswami, ‘How artillery changed the tide of the Kargil war,’ The Economic Times, June 13, 2013,
Uzma Falak is a DAAD doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Heidelberg where her work focuses on the intersection of sound, time and violence. Her poetry, essays, and reportage have appeared in publications like Guernica, The Baffler, Adi Magazine, Al Jazeera English, Warscapes, The Caravan and several edited volumes and anthologies. She won an honourable mention in the Society for Humanistic Anthropology’s Ethnographic Poetry Award (2017). Her film, Till Then The Roads Carry Her, exploring Kashmir women’s repertories of resistance, has been screened at the Art Gallery of Guelph (Guelph), University of Copenhagen, University of Warsaw, Karlstorkino (Heidelberg), Tate Modern, and others.
The ‘Capture All: A Sonic Investigation’ collection considers how experimental practices of sound and listening may be mobilised as resources for understanding and intervening in forms of capture, extraction, and governance that haunt and influence life in settler- and post-colonial Australia and India.