Masimba Hwati

Poetics of resistance and negotiation on the black market and flea markets in Harare.
Listening in sites of postcolonial rituality and acoustic collision

How can Sound as a critical field and the politics of listening become places from where to study the complexities of a culture whose creative ‘structures inscribe both affirmation and resistance to colonization and neo-colonization?’

My focus lies on the intersections of sound, everyday contraptions and politics on the black market and flea markets, also known as Mupedzanhamo in Harare, Zimbabwe. Of particular interest are the ways in which cultural resistance and negotiation can be registered and performed in these spaces. I’m proposing engaging these markets as as spaces of sonic encounter, they are also quasi-liberated spaces of socio-political refusal where the politics of listening and sounding are at their microcosmical, post-colonial climax. I’m interested in everyday contraptions as improvised sculptural forms that are antennas and transmitters in  the politics of sound and to listening. The politics of listening can disrupt power and privilege and harmful binaries of ‘Us and Them’, with the aim of political equality (Basel 2017).Basel advocates for modalities of listening that demand that the roles of listeners and speakers change, it is this dynamic shifting and disruption of positions that interests me. The coordinates of a politics of listening in my research are interdependence, recognition and micro-politics. As a part of the Postcolony, the black market is “…..characterized by a distinctive style of political improvisation, by a tendency to excess and lack of proportion, as well as by distinctive ways identities are multiplied, transformed, and put into circulation”. (Mbembe 2001)


Papier kampf ensemble © Barbara Mair
Masimba M Hwati is a multi-disciplinary artist mediating his practice through voice,  sound sculpture, performance, video, photography
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