Brandon LaBelle








Dreams of a Sovereign Citizen

developed as part of Synsmaskin, artistic research project


Curitiba / Oficina de Autonomia  

Public and private locations / Ybakatu Gallery /
January 9 - 23, 2017

In collaboration with Octavio Camargo.

With the recent cancellation of the Oficina de Música de Curitiba, after 34 years of active work, questions about culture and politics are brought forward, and how citizens may enact forms of resistance and autonomous projects. Through public actions, collective meetings, and creative manifestations, we’re interested to counter the cancellation through a spirit of festivity and critical celebration. This will take the form of an alternative workshop, under the heading Oficina de Autonomia. The Oficina is posed as an open and free situation, without a strict center or form of authorship, and from which to demonstrate an autonomous sensibility in support of imagining beyond established structures. How might musical knowledges be directed toward questions of social composition? Are there new understandings of public life to be found in experiences of the musical ensemble? If public life and relations with others are deeply shaped by listening, education in music is equally an education in tuning the ear toward those around us.

In conjunction with the Oficina, a presentation of documentations and objects will be presented at Ybakatu Gallery. Focusing on autonomous struggles, the exhibition acts as a point of reflection onto issues related to cultural politics, and also captures the spirit of what it means for a group of people to join together and create a space of free thinking and listening.

The Oficina de Autonomia focused on questions of autonomous culture and how sound and listening act as means for resistance and public solidarities. In particular, the group set out to approach “music” as a vocabulary for relating to and intervening in existing power dynamics. Concepts such as tonality of place, sonic commons, and the freedom of listening were expanded on as a creative framework for nurturing social sharing. This resulted, after two days of discussions, in a public action of collective listening at particular sites in the city. These included: Palacio do Governo, Prefeitura, Boca Maltida, Capela Santa Maria, and Atilio Borio, 603. At these sites, we gathered as a group and listened silently for ten minutes. The action of listening created an interruption onto the sites and performed to counter the cancellation of the Oficina de Musica by mobilizing the listening sense as the basis for cultural freedom.