Political geographer and sound artist Anja Kanngieser works in the coordinates between space and sound. This merging of disciplines that seems completely normal to them tends to be more perplexing to the compartmentalised world of science and academia than to the undisciplined field of artistic practice.
Anja Kanngieser’s work involves a close, critical, uncomfortable, political listening in which they both explore sound governance and seek to creatively amplify indigenous struggles for social justice in times of climate change. In doing so, they do not for a moment lose sight of the complexities and contradictions inherent in carrying out field work in the context of white academia, no matter how much anti-colonial theory and how many good intentions go into a project. Listening, affects, orality permission, recompense, exchange, recording, silences, pauses, natural disasters, and an awareness of when it’s time to leave, are thus key tools in their field research. These prerequisites challenge the protocols and formalities of academic work and resist encapsulation in its language. Anja Kanngieser draws on many strategies to resolve these tensions: from a personal and compulsive archive of field recordings and orality, to documentary essays, sound walks, sound maps, sonification, radio pieces, lectures, workshops, podcasting manuals, and academic literature, always attuned to any possible cracks in the academic corset.
In this podcast, we become the listeners as Anja Kanngieser reflects on expanded listening, on the inaudible, and on our anthropocentrism. They talk about their long-standing interest in sound governance and dissect the many tensions that built up in the project “Climates of Listening”, which was originally based on the intention of amplifying campaigns for self-determination and self-representation in the Pacific.
Photo Courtesy of the organisation