of an Imaginary Egyptian, Brandon LaBelle
if recent revolutionary events, such as Occupy or the Arab uprising, function
as sonic waves—collective voicings—that resonate globally
and that call our bodies toward a new way of turning, or tuning? Brandon
LaBelle’s Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian is an extraordinary performance
in listening; it traces how these distant and near vibrations enact, in
our body, the drama of the political, such that our ability to feel, to
love, to speak, to hope, and to connect with others is re-imagined, renewed,
returned." —Christian Hawkey
The ongoing protest movements spanning the globe seek to challenge, revitalize and rethink political processes as well as demand economic justice. Forming into a dispersed and poignant network of struggles, the current situation reveals a global culture of hope, angst and imagination. Author and artist Brandon LaBelle has sought to engage these events by way of a diary of affiliation and reciprocation in which personal memories and cultural reflections search for remote connection, in particular, with the Arab Spring. His Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian is marked by an urgency to unsettle divides, both imaginary and physical, between west and east, Anglo and Arab, and to put into question narratives of the political. Written between February and June of 2011, the Diary functioned as a daily consideration of the intensity of events erupting around the world structurally linked to personal thoughts and memories. This five-month period acts as a platform from which questions around US imperialism, art and revolution, the task of writing, and the possibility of new political subjectivity are raised. LaBelle asks for an "agency of the intimate", outlining a tender map of the transnational.
Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working collaboratively and in public. His artistic work has been presented at NGBK, Berlin (2014), Whitney Museum, NY (2012), Image Music Text, London (2011), Sonic Acts, Amsterdam (2010), A/V Festival, Newcastle (2008, 2010), Instal 10, Glasgow (2010), Museums Quartier/Tonspur, Vienna (2009), 7th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Allegro (2009). Recent projects include "Civic Center", La Casa Encendida, Madrid, "Sixth Housing Estate", South London Gallery, London, and "Hobo College", Marrakech Biennial parallel project. Also a prolific writer, his books include Lexicon of the Mouth (2014), Acoustic Territories (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2006). He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and Professor at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway.