The Weapon of Theory as a Conference of Birds

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The Weapon of Theory as a Conference of Birds

Co-led by Ayesha Hameed and Xenia Benivolski with guest faculty Kite and Jota Mombaça, this visual arts residency welcomes artists who are interested in exploring music, language and rhythm as they affect the geological, bio-political and the mnemonic through media, performance, language,and writing.

In Wild Seed, Octavia E. Butler figured the crossing of the Atlantic in shapeshifting Anyanwu’s transformation into a dolphin, swimming with her kin along a slave ship. Fred Moten and Stefano Harney see ‘the weapon of theory’ as ‘a conference of birds,’ while Deleuze and Guattari describe birds as artists, and birdsongs are expressions of territorial milieu. If territories listen to and speak back to their singing underwater and in the air, what misunderstandings, reverberations, feedback, and echoes are produced in the space between? How do we trace histories of slavery, colonialism, revolution and resistance through sound, and their differential uses and abuses of the sonic? Revisiting music as a document of geological, political, biological, social and industrial change allows us to re-evaluate entangled technological relations between humans and nature, and to examine how music operates as a memory machine and centrifugal force that draws remembering bodies together.

This residency will examine artistic practices exploring melody, language, migration, acoustics, musicology, acoustemology, cross-species communication, soundscapes, the body, and sonar/radar activity as ways to evaluate histories of change, violence, membership and resistance in the world.

What Does the Program Offer?

This program offers a structured space where visual artists come together to create work and discuss the pertinent theme. Through peer interaction, discussion groups, studio work, formal lectures and studio visits from world-renowned visiting faculty, participants gain new ideas and insights that can be applied to creative exploration and professional development of their work.

Through historical and contemporary musical records, sonic practices, texts, sounds, fieldwork, songs and readings, participants will be guided through a series of workshops, lectures and events that create new space for social and artistic practices while making tangible connections between sonic and visual materials that coalesce historically.

Who Should Apply?

This residency is for visual artists with an exhibition/publication record who have completed formal training in visual arts at the post-secondary level, or who have equivalent experience and recognition from their peers. Collaborative groups of no more than two are welcome to apply.

*Financial Aid of 100% for tuition, and 50% for food and accommodation is available for all accepted participants.

Program Dates: November 7 – December 9, 2022
Application Deadline: August 10, 2022

Learn more and apply online, visit

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