If You Listen to Nettles, They Won’t Sting You

If You Listen to Nettles, They Won’t Sting You

30 minutes

Symbiotic lecture in conversation with nettle garden

Berlin, 2021


Presented at

I Listening Biennial, Errant Sound

Berlin, Germany, June, 2021

curated by Brandon LaBelle


Agri_culture, Wienwoche

Vienna, Austria, June, 2022

curated by Lorena Tabares

How can we understand listening as an untamed practice? How to expand the notion of the undomesticated beyond the binary of civilized and savage through listening? How could we desaturate our environments to reclaim our listening potential? How does listening serve as a tool for deothering and debordering? And how can an untamed listening become an emancipatory tool to detach from certain anthropocentric epistemologies and tune in with ecocentric frequencies?

Untamed listening, in short, can be described as a type of polyphonic listening that challenges the binarisms of active and passive, sender and receiver; a type of listening that recognizes the agency of all elements in sonic environments while acknowledging the temporal specificity of each listening experience. Also a listening that has the potential to deborder and de-Other while redistributing attention by creating time and space for everyone and everything while challenging canons, preconceptions and categories.

If You Listen to Nettles, They Won’t Sting You is a lecture performance originally developed in a nettle garden within the framework of the I Listening Biennial. The lecture experiments with a braided narrative involving three threads: the unraveling of the term “untamed listening”, a term I elaborated during this lecture, a thorough description around nettles and their paradoxical imaginaries, and some personal accounts of my relationship with listening practices. The three narratives are described in parallel and converge at the end of the conference.

Excerpt of the lecture:

A weed is considered to be “a plant situated in the wrong place at the wrong time”. “Weed” is occasionally applied pejoratively to species outside the cannon, outside the known categories of the plant kingdom: to species that are situated within the hybrid or the in between, or to species that can adapt to diverse environments and reproduce quickly. To weed as a verb, is to eliminate, to erase, to free from something harmful, hurtful, superfluous or offensive.

Our notion of the tamed and untamed has been heavily influenced by the colonial duality of the civilized and the savage, a binary which sows a toxic correlation
of frameworks that privilege certain worlds views – worldviews that maintain the hegemonic order, the standard, the social contract.

Embodying the untamed is thus undoing years and years, and centuries, of corporal oppression, of historical classifications and of gender performativity. Incorporating the untamed is aligning the body with the landscape, both as a listening device and as a channel.



Metaprotesting Metaprotesting
Metaprotesting Metaprotesting Metaprotesting Metaprotesting

Sustaining Softness amidst Thistles and Snakes –  Rapport –  geolistening shelter –  What do Snails Think About Nuclear Power Plants? –  Atlantic, Mediterranean, Collision, Coalition –  ARDE, homage to reparation processes –  Environmental Matrix –  Staying with the Wonder –  Das Zentrum von Gestern –  Intersecting Mediterranean(s) –  Cuerpo Colectivo –  The Land of Thunder and Lightning  –  Becoming Anti-Monuments –  Aqualiteracies –  Reset (Quimérico) –  Babel Media Art –  Fictions / Facts –  ERROR 14-92 –  Ciudad Anfibia –  Beyond the Döner –  How high? –  1m² Parque la Independencia –  Papel Soberano –  Unitedstater –  A Picture with a Latina –  Metaprotesting –  Public Complaint Office –  Wiping Out My National Identity