Borås Art Biennial: Deep listening for longing
29th May – 26th September 2021
Borås Art Museum
The seventh biennial arranged by Borås Art Museum has the title Deep listening for longing and is curated by Stockholm-based Ulrika Flink and London-based Amanprit Sandhu. The title alludes to the value of being humble enough to listen deeply to each other, to ourselves, and to the world and the environment around us. The theme of the exhibition explores new forms of collectivity, something that is highly topical given the current state of the world.
Deep listening for longing tunes into past and present imaginings of the city — and beyond. Learning how to listen deeply to each other’s experience is a way to build consciousness and a shared understanding of the world. New forms of collectivity are determined or defined by the depth of relationships and shared longing. It is the simple interactions that connect us, from how we relate to the people we encounter in our daily lives to how we show up in our relationships and how we exist within communities. These actions create the patterns that give rise to our social fabric.
As author Adrienne Maree Brown states in her book Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing World, it is the depth of relationships that determines the strength of a system: “critical connections over critical mass.” A number of the biennial artists explore the importance and transformational power of small and simple interactions as ways of renegotiating how one moves through the world.
Deep listening, as developed by composer Pauline Oliveros, is intimately linked to longing. Oliveros’s sonic meditations sought “to create an atmosphere of opening for all to be heard, with the understanding that listening is healing.” The practice extends beyond the traditional understanding of hearing to a relational and active listening that requires the presence of both body and mind. Many of the biennial artists enact an advanced form of listening that turns inwards, while at the same time finding a mode of outward deep listening that attempts to document, present, and understand the socio-cultural contexts, histories, and politics of our time.
Angelica Mesiti’s two-screen installation Mother Tongue (2017) explores the way diverse communities in and around Aarhus, Denmark connect to their cultural heritage through music, dance, and song.