August 1 –
September 30, 2020
We are living in surprising times. While the current economic, social, biological, and political precarity of the moment is not new; and visible and pervasive violent white supremacy has been the architecture of this nation since its founding, we are facing the darkness of our present juncture with unclouded eyes.

The Black Lives Matter Uprising of 2020 is born of a long legacy of brave resistance but has been fostered specifically in this moment by the outrage of yet another brutal killing of a black person at the hands of the police. Experiencing a deadly pandemic under murderous capitalism, racism, and state violence, all of which disproportionately affect black communities, what we have always known to be a condition of our reality is that we are the most expendable. Fighting against this reality, We Listen Nearby is an invitation, a provocation, an act: of care, collectivity, and becoming.

Centering the relationship between speaking and listening by interrogating the dual power to name or be silent, we will talk to each other. Over the phone, through sound and storytelling, this project considers genealogies and how we might conceptualize cultural heritages that transgress dogmatic definitions and borderlines and resists false singularities. Compelled by the multi-faceted work of Trinh T. Minh-ha, and in response to the virulent anti-Asian racism of the pandemic crisis and the BLM uprising, We Listen Nearby brings together an intergenerational group of artists, activists, writers, and scholars to articulate the power of legacy and to think through the impact of our histories as migrants, immigrants, refugees, strangers, and friends and contend with the conditions of entangled biologized, enculturated racial politics.

The project will pivot around overlapping pairs and trios of speakers / listeners who will be in conversation with each other, until a collective constellation of voices and interviews interlock and interweave to hold a mirror up to itself. We Listen Nearby offers the voice as testimony and material which visualizes sound, language as survival, and listening as a potential moment of collective transition and transformation. When we can’t be together physically, let our voices and our listening be an intimate point of contact: witness to our collective survival.

We Listen Nearby will exist as an online project, launching in late August, and marks the culmination of Hồng-Ân Trương's 2019-2020 Capp Street Project Artist-in-Residence. We Listen Nearby features conversations between Michelle Dizon & Gina Osterloh; denisse andrade & Betty Yu; Michelle Phương Ting &  Kristiana Chan; Việt Lê, Bruce Yonemoto & Đỉnh Q. Lê.

Hồng-Ân Trương (b. 1976, Gainesville, FL) lives and works in Durham, North Carolina, where she is an Associate Professor of Art and Director of Graduate Studies in the MFA Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This is the final project in our year-long season dedicated to the questions posed by the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha and how they address art, culture, and society today.

We Listen Nearby, a project by Hồng-Ân Trương

Hồng-Ân Trương, On minor histories and the horrifying recognition of the swift work of time, 2016; installation view, Nhà Sàn, Ha Nội, Việt Nam; Courtesy of the artist.
Hồng-Ân Trương, On minor histories and the horrifying recognition of the swift work of time, 2016; installation view, Nhà Sàn, Ha Nội, Việt Nam; Courtesy of the artist.