Performance: The Sonic Image

 Mar 03, 2020, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
 Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse

915 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

Join us for a special evening of performances in the Logan Center Penthouse conceived by Gray Center Fellows Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Hannah B Higgins, and W.J.T. Mitchell; joined by special guests Nancy Rose Hunt, Sasha Crawford-Holland, Siting Jiang, and Caleigh Stephens. The event employs a special scenography designed to invoke strategies for seeing words and hearing images. The performance will examine and challenge our evolving notions around the politics of listening and the voice,  enacting live what the trio of Abu Hamdan, Higgins, and Mitchell term the Sonic Image. 

The event is free and open to the public.

Event starts at 7:00 PM - doors at 6:45 PM, no late entry permitted after 7:10 PM.


Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and audio investigator currently living in Berlin as a guest of DAAD. Abu Hamdan’s interest with sound and its intersection with politics originate from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music . The artists audio investigations has been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organizations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International. The artist’s forensic audio investigations are conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths College London where he received his PhD in 2017.  Abu Hamdan's Rubber Coated Steel 2016 won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival 2017 and his exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. Other solo exhibitions include Hammer Museum L.A (2018), Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Beirut in Cairo (2013), The Showroom, London (2012), Casco, Utrecht (2012). Abu Hamdan is the author of the artist book  [inaudible] : A politics of listening in 4 acts  and a forthcoming ebook produced as part of his 2015-17 fellowship at the Vera List Centre for Art and Politics at the New School in New York.  His works are part of collections at MoMA New York, Guggenheim New York, Van AbbeMuseum Eindhoven, Centre Pompidou Paris, Tate Modern London. He is the recipient of the 2019 Turner Prize along with artists Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shan.

Hannah B Higgins is a Professor and art historian in the Department of Art at the University of Illinois-Chicago and author of Fluxus Experience (University of California Press, 2002) and The Grid Book (MIT Press, 2009) and co-editor of with Douglas Kahn of Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of Digital Art (University of California Press, 2012). She has received the UIC University Scholar Award, DAAD, Getty Research Institute, Philips Collection, and Emily Harvey Foundation Fellowships. Higgins is the daughter of Fluxus artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles and is co-executor of the Estate of Dick Higgins and the Something Else Press. Professor Higgins has been teaching at UIC since 1994 and is the Founding Director of the interdisciplinary IDEAS BA in Art. Her research and course topics examine twentieth century avant-garde art with a specific interest in Dadaism, Surrealism, Fluxus, Happenings, performance art, food art and early computer art. Her books and articles argue for the humanistic value of multi-modal sensory cognitive experience.

Nancy Rose Hunt is Professor of History & African Studies at the University of Florida since 2016, is undertaking new research on psychiatry and mental health in Africa, with a focus on diagnostic categories and care in zones of war, migratory politics, and securitization. Awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018 for “Ideation as History,” as well as receiving a Fulbright Specialist Award to an STS global health laboratory in Paris and migratory corridors in Niger that year, she has also been writing for History and Theory while spearheading with Achille Mbembe and Juan Obarrio a new book series at Duke University Press: Theory in Forms.  Her recent book, A Nervous State: Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo (Duke, 2016), received the Martin A. Klein Prize from the American Historical Association. A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Work, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo (Duke, 1999) is an innovative ethnographic history of objects and childbearing, which received the Melville Herskovits Book Prize from the African Studies Association. Suturing New Medical Histories of Africa (LIT Verlag, 2013) began as the seventh Carl Schlettwein Lecture at the University of Basel. Her scholarship has long pursued medical, gender, technological, and subaltern themes: childbearing, abortion, breastfeeding, and surgical, transport, writing, and visual technologies. She has done fieldwork in and near Bujumbura, Burundi; Accra, Ghana; Niamey and Agadez, Niger; and in many cities of Congo-Zaire: Kisangani, Mbandaka, Kinshasa, and Bukavu. Her current work takes stock of imperial psychiatric approaches across Africa’s empires; focuses on war and disequilibrium in Africa’s Great Lakes region; considers new forms of mental health care in the Sahel; and mines vernacular images, texts, and drawings as sources calling out for field-based dialogues. A historical ethnography of one psychiatric hospital and war town is expected.

W. J. T. Mitchell is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences. A scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature, Mitchell is associated with the emergent fields of visual culture and iconology (the study of images across the media). He is known especially for his work on the relations of visual and verbal representations in the context of social and political issues. Under his editorship, Critical Inquiry has published special issues on public art, psychoanalysis, pluralism, feminism, the sociology of literature, canons, race and identity, narrative, the politics of interpretation, postcolonial theory, and many other topics. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Morey Prize in art history given by the College Art Association of America. In 2003, he received the University of Chicago’s prestigious Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. W.J.T. Mitchell is author of many books including: Iconology (1987), Picture Theory (1995), The Last Dinosaur Book (1998), What do Pictures Want? (2005), Cloning Terror (2011 ), Image Science (2015) and Mental Traveler forthcoming this Spring from the University of Chicago Press.