Politics of Dissonance Festival

Brexit, Trump, a realignment of power from East to West, a new proposal for globalisation led by China, the return of political extremism to mainstream European politics—these are all elements of discord, of a dissonant reckoning between the world we once envisaged, full of certainty, and a world that is becoming and which we cannot yet name.

Conceived by curator Mike Watson, Politics of Dissonance is a festival of sound, noise, political video, and VJ performances to be hosted in collaboration with Quartair, Social Sensibility and Perpetuum Mobile / Artists at Risk on 6th-9th July 2018. The event aims to bring together independent spaces and practitioners from across the world to collaborate in a performative investigation into the discord that defines our times. Drawing on dissonance both as a musical term and as a term used to describe social rupture or unease Politics of Dissonance invites sound and noise artists and musical practitioners as well as VJs and video makers to engage in performances or to create installations that focus on the role of dissonance in giving form to our times.

Within a world that had become unfathomable in social terms, the art world is called upon to provide a sense of meaning, harmony or balance. However, it remains complicit with the forces of finance capital that have blurred the political boundaries and laid waste to formerly stable political oppositions. As a festival, Politics of Dissonance, aims to address the limits of artistic discourse in our times. Partners Artists at Risk will elaborate on their work aiding persecuted artists in at risk territories, whilst Social Sensibility will invite workers from the Bernard Controls factory plants in China and France to continue ongoing research on the relation between workers and creative production. Quartair will continue their activity as an artist run space dedicated to social inquiry through installation, performance and multimedia.

Politics of Dissonance is an official collateral event of Manifesta 12.


Antoine Adguze, Natasja Alers, Simone Bertugno, BLCK.DOT, Harold de Bree, Rob Bothof, Baran Çağinli, Stefano Canto, Chto Delat, DJB, Amos Cappuccio, Sounkarou Dembélé, Blandine De La Taille, Ramy Essam, Nico Feragnoli, Snövit Hedstierna, Shingo Inao, Fatoş İrven, Giuseppe Lana, Yael Levy and Nikos Kokolakis, Cristiano Luciani (aka Chris X), Dominique Manu, Richard Nathaniel, Nikolay Oleynikov (Chto Delat), Erkan Özgen, Fenn, Robert Pettena, Esther Planas, Alessandro Rolandi, Shitcluster, Dembele Sounkarou, Antti Tenetz, Rena & Vladan, Oliver Ressler, Mike Rijnierse, Issa Touma, Tito Valery, Zhang Wei, WeiChengCheng, WuShuqing, Thom Vink, Your Noisy Neighbours, Hamid Zeggane, Tianji Zhao.

Organizers: Mike Watson (Curator), Emanuele Riccomi (Assistant Curator), with Quartair, Social Sensibility and Perpetuum Mobile / Artists at Risk

Technical Partners:
Goethe-Institut Palermo, Kone- Foundation, Mondriaan, Palermotherfuckers, Poesié Infinité, Vkusnaya Vodka

Media Partner:

Filed Under: News


Curtis Walker is an educator, musician, and arts administrator based in Guelph, Ontario. He holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Theory, where he focused his writing on experimental music. He also spent years as a member of the programming and organizing team for the Send + Receive Festival of Sound in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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