Anja Kanngieser by Norman Posselt

Anja Kanngieser
Listening to Ecocide


For political geographer and sound artist Anja Kanngieser, sound is the sense mechanism that drives their work – from a documentary interlacing stories on resisting deep sea mining in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu to an audio walk on rising sea levels. As an academic, their work creatively amplifies social justice claims around politics and climate change.

Anja Kanngieser’s talk, aptly named Listening to Ecocide, addresses through sound the complexities faced by frontline Pacific communities. The Pacific Island of Nauru at the heart of the Pacific Ocean is the frontline of environmental crisis. Strip-mined by colonisers of its natural phosphate reserves, the backbone of industrial agriculture, the island nation has relied on Australia’s brutal offshore refugee incarceration régime for the last decade. With severe eco-systemic vulnerabilities – contaminated water, diminishing land, droughts and sea inundation – Nauru exemplifies the precarious position induced by extractive colonialism and racial capitalism. Bringing together site-specific audio recordings with Indigenous Nauruan voices campaigning for self-determination and self-representation, Kanngieser shows sound and listening as vital to understanding, and amplifying, the deep relations to land and sea that Nauruan’s hold and the complexities they face. 

Anja Kanngieser by Norman Posselt

Anja Kanngieser is a political geographer and sound artist based in Wollongong, Australia, who creatively investigates space and politics. In their work Anja begins with the premise of sound as a constant, a phenomenon that is always present – whether heard, felt, or sensed by human or non-human species and technologies. Their most current projects use testimony, field recording and data sonification to document and amplify social justice responses to the effects of climate change in the Pacific. In their first book, Experimental Politics and the Making of Worlds (2013), they open up communication between urban groups to find common sites for protest around precarious living and working conditions, migration and higher education. Research interests include labour practices in China, sound technologies for mapping movement and micro radio in Japanese urban politics. In their most recent project, Climates of Listening, community-oriented social justice responses to climate change in the Pacific are amplified. A Vice Chancellors Fellow at the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research at the University of Wollongong, Australia, their writing is widely published and they are an editorial board member of journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

The visit of Anja Kanngieser is made possible by the International Visitors Programme of Het Nieuwe Instituut with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Anja Kanngieser. Photo by Norman Posselt.

Magical Thinking: Towards a Future Worth Living – Conference Day 1

at De Brakke Grond
Sat 22 Feb 13:30 — 15:30

This conference proposes the magical thinking’ – a belief that thoughts and actions can influence the world – as a provocation. In current dystopian scenarios of future life on Earth, from environment to democracy, imagining a future worth living might reduce anxiety that paralyses action, thereby creating an openness to more inclusive thinking. The questions that need answering are: What is a future worth living (and for whom)? Which tactics can get us there? How can one get from climate emergency and catastrophic populism, fuelled by extractive capitalism, to a world of social/​ecological justice and multispecies equality? With focus on artistic research and strategies of visibility and mobilisation through art, this forum wishes to open up critical discussions and propose routes towards a future worth living.

Ecocide – The Missing Crime

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