Uncommon Knowledge: Joel Stern on Eavesdropping

Mon 13 Aug 2018

This is a past program.
Main Exhibition Gallery
$35 includes cocktail on arrival

Half Season Passes on sale now! $100
Valid for the last four lectures of the season: Joel Stern on 13 August, Gabrielle de Vietri on 10 September, Eugenia Lim on 15 October, Larissa Hjorth on 19 November.

Joel Stern is a curator, musician and artist; Co-Artistic Director (with Danni Zuvela) of Liquid Architecture; and Co-Founder of the organisations OtherFilm and Instrument Builders Project. For his lecture, Joel Stern will discuss the contemporary resonances of ‘eavesdropping’ under conditions of the modern surveillance state, post-Snowden; the incredible proliferation of listening devices (smart phones etc); and increasingly algorithmic forms of regulation and governance.

The term ‘eavesdropping’ has its roots in 18th century legal texts that describe malicious listeners, hidden from view, who would ‘frame slanderous and mischievous tales’ about who and what they hear. The term also appears in mythologies, for example, when gods and angels were depicted as ‘listening-in’ on the world from the beyond.

However, an expanded definition of ‘eavesdropping’ may be viable, and possibly productive — one that isn’t malicious, but, rather, foregrounds an ethical politics of listening. To that end, Stern has undertaken research into artistic and activist modes of listening and arrived at three rubrics — overhearing, listening-back and earwitnessing — as pathways for navigating and understanding these practices. These three terms and their possible application will be further explored by Stern in this lecture.

Eavesdropping is also the subject and title of an exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at The University of Melbourne, curated by Joel Stern and Dr. James Parker in a collaboration between Liquid Architecture, the Melbourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art from July to October 2018.

Joel Stern is Co-Artistic Director (with Danni Zuvela) of Liquid Architecture, and Co-Founder of the organisations OtherFilm and Instrument Builders Project. Through these initiatives and with other institutions, Stern has worked to initiate festivals, publications, exhibitions, screenings and concerts in Australia and internationally since the early 2000s. As a musician, he performs solo and as part of the groups Soft Power and Sky Needle. Stern is currently a PhD candidate in Curatorial Practice at Monash University, Melbourne.

Please note, doors open from 5:30pm for a 6pm start.

Tickets: $35 includes cocktail on arrival made by Starward Whisky


ACCA’s 2018 lecture series, Uncommon knowledge: artists on their special interests gives eight artists a microphone and an hour to speak about topics that inspire their art and thinking. Featuring a trans-generational cast of artists, Uncommon Knowledge brings together elements of history, lifestyle, philosophy, sound studies, sexuality, cultural politics and more, to challenge us to think differently about society and the world around us.

Presented by Abercrombie & Kent, these hour-long lectures will be presented monthly on Monday nights at 6pm from April through to November. Each lecture will be accompanied by a unique cocktail created by our partners The Melbourne Gin Company and Starward Whisky.


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