Echoes of Dissent (Vol. 4) // Politics of the Voice

In the context of Courtisane Festival 2024 (Gent, 27 – 31 March 2024), with the support of KASK & Conservatory / School of Arts.

The voice emanates from within.

Here are seven artists who are not afraid of the sound of their own voices — whether embodied, sonic, visual, spoken, recited, conversed, unvoiced, silent.

They do not take their agency or freedom to express for granted.
They know these freedoms have been hard won.

This is the Politics of the Voice.

(Elaine Mitchener)

Our voice is what differentiates us from one another and relates us to one another. The voice concerns the throat, saliva, and breath, the chest and lungs, the patina of experienced life, the pleasure of shaping sound waves, the acoustic emission that emits from mouth to ear, as grain, timbre, vibration, rhythm, language. It resonates at the confluence of the individual and the collective, the phonetic and the semantic, interior and exterior, sound and sense. The voice is body and speech, sighs and cries, groans and moans, humming and hawing.

The voice is soul. Voice is noise. It’s what makes us unique as individuals but also powerful as a community. When attending to the question of resistance, of disagreement and redistribution, the emphasis is often on giving voice, speaking up, talking back, on the political act of voicing dissent, articulating demands, vocalizing laments. But what does it exactly mean ‘to voice’? How can we hear and understand the voice as something political?

With these questions in mind, we have invited vocalist, composer, voice and movement artist Elaine Mitchener to compose a programme of performances, conversations and video works that could breathe life into the voice in all its poetic and political force.

Curated by Elaine Mitchener
In the context of the research project Echoes of Dissent (KASK & Conservatory / School of Arts Gent)


29 MARCH, 2024 – 19:00


£pØ@n®diØ$n [LPOANRDIOSN] for Voice and City
Frederic Acquaviva

performance, performed by Loré Lixenberg

“if borders and identity folds imploded, and if for example, the sound body of towns such as Paris or London would be playing together, if those sound biopsies, collected the same day at the same time, would refuse to just be simple ‘field recording’—those sound selfies —, but would reveal to be a music, rid of its victories: composition, de-composition and re-composition of a sonic score illuminated by the voice of the mezzo-soprano Loré Lixenberg… you would be then listening to the [concerto for town and voice]: £pØ@n®diØ$n by Frédéric Acquaviva.”

I am an animal made of the city. A concrete animal
Loré Lixenberg (mezzo-soprano)


Recordings in the streets of Paris, 2018 by Frédéric Acquaviva.
Recordings in the streets of London, January 19, 2018, by Philip Tagney and Loré Lixenberg.

Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of THE VOICE PARTY
Loré Lixenberg

electro-acoustic presentation

“From the trauma of Brexit, THE VOICE PARTY (a political party & opera action) was born, with the plan to overhaul the structure of society according to the principles of music and sound and takes the forms of structures found in politics as operatic structure. For instance, ‘theVoicePartyOperaBotfarm,’ a kind of Deleuzian ‘Last of England’ for the 21st century, is a radiophonic sonic Twitter troll device musically trolling politicians with a chorus of advice, insults, despair and white-hot rage (Follow the botfarm on @TheVoiceParty1) a voice based cryptocurrency VOXXCOIN and party political broadcasts one of which I present here. PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST ON BEHALF OF THE VOICE PARTY is an acousmatic piece for scored and improvised voice, setting out the aims of THE VOICE PARTY for the UK elections 2024. It is a process piece with no end.”

Audrey Chen


Hyper-extensies voor stem en analoge elektronica.

Followed by a conversation with Loré Lixenberg, Audrey Chen, Elaine Mitchener & Esi Eshun


29 MARCH, 2024 – 21:00


In:action. Speak up.
Nhã Thuyên

poetry reading, English & Vietnamese spoken

Speak up, a finger of mine touches a phrase in a book, a fresh smell. Why, I ask the page, and to whom, about what, in which way? I have no significant stories to tell and I don’t record sufferings. Mom complains about me not knowing what to do with my mouth. No, entering the roof of the mouth, there is a treasure chest. But it was cursed.

A woman figure speaks to the walls of a room or walls on the streets of a city somewhere, exposing her inner world in the form of never-ending sentences.

Reading in and into a place.
Reading in and into a language.
Reading in and into a body.
Poetry itches. Poetry thinks. Poetry acts. Poetry performs.

To overcome this itchy phase of writing. I can’t escape it. It can not escape me. I must let it continue,

new poems
Jay Bernard

poetry reading, English spoken

New poems written in Paris and London that speak to the title of the event Politics of the Voice.

Followed by a conversation with Nhã Thuyên, Jay Bernard, Elaine Mitchener & Esi Eshun


29 MARCH, 2024 – 22:15


Elaine Mitchener (voice) & Neil Charles (double bass and electronics)


Drawing from texts and poems from SPEAK OUT, the first ever collection of writing from the Brixton Black Women’s Group, one of the first and most important black radical organisations of the 1970s.


29 MARCH, 2024 – 16:00

16:00 – 23:30

Mouth to Mouth
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, US, KR, 1975, video, 8′

English and Korean words appear on the screen, a mouth forms the shape of an ‘O,’ then opens and closes. Is this the beginning of language? In this early videotape, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha isolates and repeats a simple, physical act — a mouth forming the eight Korean vowel graphemes — so that this ordinary action becomes something primal and riveting.

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, US, KR, 1976, video, 5′

In this meditation on speech and language, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha juxtaposes English and French words to form new relationships and meanings.

Re Dis Appearing
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, US, KR, 1977, video, 3′

The artist speaks a word, which is quickly echoed in French, so that the words are only barely comprehended. Simple images — a bowl, a photograph of the ocean — appear and disappear.


(Still from Sam Belinfante, Focus, 2012. 16mm film transferred to HD video, black and white, sound, 13 minutes)