In this conversation, GTA21 artist Sahar Te will discuss her featured work Listening Attends (2021) with curator, scholar and educator Amin Alsaden. They will respond to her installation at MOCA and the performance video of the same title, as well as expanding on Sahar’s artistic practice and vision. The discussion period will conclude with a Q&A session from the audience and a screening of the performance Listening Attends.
Listening Attends, 2021
Sahar Te, Listening Attends, 2021. Performance video, Kenji Chen. Courtesy of the artist. 9′31″.
Listening Attends (2021) by Sahar Te takes the form of a Toyota Tacoma truck outfitted with a large PA sound system. This type of vehicle is the North American equivalent to a Toyota Land Cruiser (currently not made in Canada), which is the type of vehicle often used by terrorist organizations, propagandists, or law enforcement agents to control crowds during moments of public outpour. In varying circumstances—social, political, and religious—Te has been struck by the vehicle’s aggressive and imposing overtones. Te has noted that in her experiences that inspired this work, the vehicle and the way it is equipped sustains a dominance over its public, even in its DIY state and stillness. Te, however, used the truck in Toronto to produce a performance in which the sounds of demonstration and propaganda were replaced by breathing patterns.
Sahar Te’s work is rooted in sound. She mobilizes various ways of working within the medium to open up alternative and contrasting realities that challenge the notion of ‘original’ content. Considerations in her practice include linguistics, semiotics, social dynamics, ethics, media studies, and oral histories. Through each project, she delves into sociological and techno-political discourses to understand hegemony within different power structures. Her personal encounters with socio-political situations and her interdisciplinary interests have led her to an audio-visual practice.
Amin Alsaden is a curator, scholar, and educator whose work focuses on transnational exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries. He is particularly interested in how artists and architects ponder collective experiences in the public realm, level political and institutional critique, and envision novel spatial responses to questions of belonging, displacement, and exile.