On the Possibility of Intellectual Freedom Today

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
— United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A, Paris, 10 December 19481

Born out of the gigantic catastrophe that was the mid twentieth century eruption of European fascism in partnership with Japanese statism, the post war notion concerning the unrestricted expression of ideas was and still is an aspirational ideal in the humanist struggle against the totalitarian tendencies seemingly inherent to so many of our modern political systems. Article 19 gave this brave new world a very succinct and apparently universal legal definition of intellectual freedom…

A Provocation on the Possibility of Intellectual Freedom Today: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, published in What Does Intellectual Freedom Mean Today? A Provocation, Continental Thought & Theory, Issue 1, April 2016, eds. Mike Grimshaw and Cindy Zeiher, University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

On a Community of Auricular Praxis

Of all the activities necessary and present in human communities, only two were deemed to be political and to constitute what Aristotle called the bios politikos, namely action (praxis) and speech (lexis), out of which rises the realm of human affairs … from which everything merely necessary or useful is excluded.
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition.

The Borderline Ballroom collective formed around a kernel of like-minded sonic arts practitioners in Christchurch New Zealand c. 2007 in order to provide a creative outlet for sonic experimentation in Canterbury and beyond. Over the following 7 years the collective developed a community of praxis in Canterbury that became an active, regional locus in a nationwide sonic arts network that continues to support emerging and established, local, national and international sonic artistsi. It is this enduring community of praxis, both pre and post the Canterbury earthquakes, that created the potential and formed the executive basis for the Borderline Ballroom’s legal incorporation as the Cantabrian Society of Sonic Artists (CSSA) and the development of its Auricle Sonic Arts Galleryii in 2013….

Introduction to Writing Around Sound I, Journal of the CSSA

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Olivia Webb’s Voices Project

On this particular sunny mid-winter’s day, walking up to the ruins of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Lyttelton, Aotearoa New Zealand, one would have been met with a peculiar mise en scène, framed through the wire mesh barricades that have become a familiar part of the rebuilding furniture of post-earthquake Canterbury. Four speakers on stands straddle centre stage with a new (old), transplanted weatherboard church to the left; torn plastic sheets fluttering in its still glassless windows; and behind it all the lovely vistas of Whakaraupo. It’s quiet apart from the mild breeze until the four speakers spark up, multilayered with laughter, people talking and what appear to be vocal exercises for a choir – and so the work begins….

A review of Olivia Webb’s Voices Project.

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