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DYSTOPIA Sound Art Biennial: Call for Works (Germany)

'One person's utopia is another's dystopia.'

The DYSTOPIA Biennial in Berlin is calling for proposals for its upcoming edition in 2024, with a focus on India. Broadly organised around the theme of ‘dys/utopia’, the sound art exhibition brings together a diverse range of sound art related artistic practices, including installations, performances, experimental music, listening sessions, as well as projects in public space.

As a genre of literary fiction, dystopias have always carried measures of reality in them. Dystopian societies are characterised by authoritarian governance, technocratic surveillance, and environmental degradation, and have come to be increasingly marked by ethnic nationalism, global pandemics, and climate catastrophe. These are places where extractive capitalism threatens planetary existence, where war indiscriminately targets civilians, and the possibility of struggle appears to be depleted. If dystopian thinking is an attempt to warn us about the total destruction of the commons, then it is intimately bound up with utopian imagination. With this open call, the DYSTOPIA Biennial invites artists to develop new works or present existing ones that resist our dys/utopian topologies and desire another world.

Following on from the inaugural editions DYSTOPIA festival Berlin-Turkey 2018/2019 and Berlin-Brazil 2020/2021, (Berlin-Russia 2022 had to be cancelled), DYSTOPIA 24 will focus on sound-related practices emerging from the Indian subcontinent. The biennial invites applications for projects that attend to our contemporary condition through sound as a medium, event or memory. Here, the term ‘sound art’ is applied expansively, and the proposed projects may draw on visual, spatial, sculptural, performative, and site-specific means, in addition to acoustic ones.

The open call is addressed to sound artists living/working on the Indian subcontinent, as well as across the European region. The frame is not intended as a national(ist) one and the organisers welcome approaches that upend colonial formations and state-sponsored hegemonies, by listening to the landscape differently and by composing other imaginaries of the territory. While the Indian subcontinent gives this edition of the biennial its political thrust, individual works need not consider it subject matter in an overt way.

Selected artists will receive:

  • An average production budget of 2000€ for an art work / project.
  • An artist fee of 1500€ for a new work for the Biennial OR
  • an artist fee of 500€ for an existing work.
  • Transportation, travel and accommodation costs, as necessary (the organisers would like to keep the number of flights to a minimum, and wherever possible encourage travel by train).

The exhibition will open on 6 September 2024 and run until 29 September 2024 (tbc).


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