Listening as a Whole

8 July, 2021
– 29 July, 2021
Various Locations

DATES: 8th, 18th & 29th July 


Listening as a Whole is a new series of happenings initiated by London based artist Shenece Oretha and commissioned by Cairo Clarke, taking place across July 2021.

Listening as a Whole responds to the expansive notions of how listening manifests and is illustrated in the music(ality) in and of Black women’s literature and thought. The project considers the work of Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Zora Neale Hurston, Dionne Brand, Toni Cade Bambara and Alice Walker as points of departure.

Over the course of the project Oretha extends an invitation to artists and creative practitioners Evan Ifekoya, Elaine Mitchener, and Carole Wright (Blak Outside) who will each lead a session responding to themes of listening within Black women’s literature in relation to nature, movement, the cosmic and voice. This embodied praxis of listening is further explored by collaborator Safiya Robinson (sisterwoman vegan) who will interweave elements of intentional nourishment.

Through this series of happenings developed and shared by the artist, collaborators and participants, Listening as a Whole aims to create an embodied listening methodology, sounding out collective approaches to knowledge production. After a prolonged period of isolation for many, Listening as a Whole hopes to establish an entry into gathering, one that looks at the significance and vitality of communion. Listening to and out for one another’s calls and those of a coming world.

This project is supported by The Elephant Trust.

A close up of an ear printed in subdued sepia tone. A ring piercing is on the ear lobe and a thick black line is drawn along the helix, circles around the canal and passes through the ring. Two fold marks create a cross-shape.
Image courtesy of Shenece Oretha

Shenece Oretha is a multidisciplinary artist based in London where she sounds out possibilities for being. Through installation, performance, print, sculpture, sound, workshops and text she amplifies and celebrates listening and sound as an embodied and collective practice.

Evan Ifekoya is an artist and energy worker who through sound, text, video and performance places demands on existing systems and institutions of power, to recentre and prioritise the experience and voice of those previously marginalised. The practice considers art as a site where resources can be both redistributed and renegotiated, whilst challenging the implicit rules and hierarchies of public and social space. Through archival and sonic investigations, they speculate on blackness in abundance. Their ongoing investigation considers the somatic experience of listening, the healing potential of sound and spiritual ecologies.

They established the collectively run and QTIBPOC (queer, trans*, intersex, black and people of colour) led Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in 2018. They have presented exhibitions, moving image and performances across Europe and Internationally, most recently: FACT, Liverpool Biennial (with B.O.S.S. 2021); Gus Fischer New Zealand (2020); De Appel Netherlands (2019); Gasworks London (2018).

Elaine Mitchener is a contemporary vocalist, movement artist and composer working between the worlds of contemporary new music, experimental jazz / free improvisation and visual arts. She is founder of collective electroacoustic trio The Rolling Calf (with Jason Yarde and Neil Charles) and her sound works are held in a curated collection by George E Lewis at Darmstadt Festival. Recent recordings includes Some Good News a live album with Hamid Drake, William Parker, Orphy Robinson and Pat Thomas (OTOROKU label), and a special radio commission for Sons d’Hiver (Paris). Mitchener is one of 50 selected exhibiting artists featured in the British Art Show 9 touring exhibition 21/22 and is a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist.

Recent artists she has performed and collaborated with include Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother), George E. Lewis, Christian Marclay, The Otolith Group, Tansy Davies, Black Top, Hamid Drake, Van Huynh Company, Apartment House, David Toop, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Manufaktur für aktuelle Musik (MAM), William Parker.

Safiya Robinson is a creative cook, writer, podcaster, wellness advocate and the founder of sisterwoman vegan, a plant based social enterprise exploring wellness through food. A creative and vibrational cook ( a la Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor), she creates plant based dishes inspired by her Black American, Jamaican and British heritage and believes that food is a healing modality, centring community, education and mindfulness in her work. With a focus on holistic wellness and mental health she creates spaces for critical food conversation and seeks to empower us all to think more critically about the food that we eat. Safiya was nominated one of Code Hospitality’s Top 1 in00 Women in Hospitality 2021.

Carole Wright is a project manager, community gardener, beekeeper, and proud South Londoner with a degree a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design who hails from Brixton. In 2020 Carole initiated the three day festival ‘Blak Outside’ 2020  a multidisciplinary event, including a charity plant sale at  Peabody Blackfriars Estate and The Garden Museum. Living in Southwark, Carole dedicates herself to improving the community she lives within. She said, “My family instilled in me the motto ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. I’ve carried that ethos throughout my whole adult life @blak_outside

Cairo Clarke is a curator, and writer whose work is informed by slowness. Her work centers forms of knowledge production and dissemination that slip between the cracks, are formed on unstable ground and take on multiple temporalities. Supporting strands of theorising taking place in autonomous spaces and holding space for the mess.

Cairo has worked closely with artists to develop and share instances of work across film, performance, printed matter and events as well as sharing self-led curatorial projects. In 2019 she launched SITE, a publication and curatorial project exploring alternative encounters with artist practice and the dissemination of research. Cairo is the 2020/21 Curatorial Fellow at LUX.



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