Nida Ghouse is a writer and curator, teaching at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. She received the 2021 Andy Warhol Foundation fellowship for Shifting Center at EMPAC, where she is curator-in-residence. She worked at Haus der Kulturen der Welt between 2016 and 2021, where she co-curated/co-edited Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War (2017/2021), and curated A Slightly Curving Place (2020) in the framework of An Archaeology of Sound, a collaborative project responding to the acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi. The project travelled to Alserkal Arts Foundation (2021-22) and encompasses Coming to Know, a discursive program with Brooke Holmes; A Supplementary Country Called Cinema, a film program with Surabhi Sharma; and An Archaeology of Listening, a publication series with Archive Books. Previously, she was visiting lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities at Princeton University (2022) and co-artistic director of the Singapore Biennale 2022.
Shifting Center considers the often-overlooked acoustic practices in contemporary art and exhibition-making as they relate to cultural memory, colonial history, and decolonial processes. More specifically, this curatorial research and the subsequent exhibition investigates the politics of sound by considering two opposing tendencies at play within contemporary art exhibitions and colonial museums: dislocation (objects, artworks, and cultural belongings taken from their original context and silenced through the mechanisms of museological preservation and display); and location (how architecture and acoustics impact the experience of exhibitions as resonant spaces of sited and situated listening).
Curatorial research in preparation for the exhibition will span 2022-23 and will comprise international travel for studio and site visits, interviews, and archival research. The curators will meet with artists and specialists where they work as well as convene at EMPAC for discussions about acoustic display and spatial audio technology. This period of research is itself an exercise in listening to and learning from others, an essentially communal and temporal practice that is not only rooted in the present but looks for how past ways of knowing and practices of listening can inform an exhibition today.