Listening Session: Seeing Through Flames: Art After Dark by Dave Haslam

Black and white image of a DJ and crowd of people
Courtesy: Dave Haslam
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In this listening session Dave Haslam journeys from the art of Picasso to Keith Haring, from Weimar Germany to 90s rave, tracing the music that has soundtracked these decades and centuries. The human need to gather, listen to music, and feel a sense of life and community has been with us perhaps since the beginning of human existence. Haslam goes back to1900 to tell the story of artists and photographers who have tried to capture this experience.

About the Seeing Through Flames: Of Dubbing 2023 Series

The study sessions are informal discussion groups. Seeing Through Flames is a series of auditory assemblages that turn listening into a collective channel of exchange. These sessions open out the ideas and themes of our research strand, Emergency & Emergence, and survey different possibilities of forming solidarity through sonic ecologies.

Knowing that historiography occasionally reduces history writing to social systems of power in the time and place of a particular experience and does not obey the facts, how can the narrative of the facts be opened up to speculation? If dub is understood as a way of producing a version in the existence, in the wake of, ”the original”, and the idea of history is not as static or settled, dubbing as an act becomes a work of witnessing and of filling in historical gaps with dub imaginary. The space of sound and acoustic experimentation responds to the in-between of what is confined to history, preserved and abandoned.

By lending an emphatic ear to relational tempos, acoustics, beats and frequencies of historical formations and sonic world-making, this season’s Seeing Through Flames: Of Dubbing brings together a pluriverse of interdependent speculations that confronts the production and writing of history to underscore a condition of possibility for solidarity, beyond ‘the event’ in history, beyond cultural specificity and its locality.

Dave Haslam (born 1962) has published a small format book ‘Adventure Everywhere: Pablo Picasso’s Paris Nightlife’(2023). He is a former DJ at the Hacienda in Manchester, a journalist and the author of several other full=length and short format books. His DJing has taken him to the likes of Berlin, Lima, New York, and Paris, and behind the decks at afterparties for New Order in Turin and Depeche Mode in Detroit. He’s written on subjects as diverse as Sylvia Plath, cultural regeneration, and mental health. His ‘Life After Dark: the History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues’ (2015) garnered extensive positive reviews, and his memoir ‘Sonic Youth Slept on My Floor’ (2018) was proclaimed Book of the Year by Gilles Peterson. He’s curated multiple events for Manchester International Festival and presented events, talks and debates on art, music, and related subjects at Tate Liverpool, the South Bank Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, and Kent State University, Ohio.

About the event

Free for all.

Limited Capacity.

Booking is required.

The duration of the event is one hour and a half. Seating is available.


Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities here.

There are no audio descriptions for this event.

If you have any questions around access or have specific access requirements we can accommodate, please get in touch with us by emailing or phoning 0115 948 9750.

Safety during your visit

Due to COVID precautions, please do not attend this event if you/someone in your household is currently COVID-19 positive, has suspected symptoms, or is awaiting test results.

Staff and visitors are welcome to wear a face mask in all areas.

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