Neal Cahoon

Neal Cahoon (PhD, University of Roehampton 2019) is a researcher-practitioner working within the fields of poetics, listening, and curatorial practices. His research stems from an interest in extending the chance poetics of John Cage, and the attentional inclusion of environmental sound during various acts of reading. His work has since expanded through curatorial practices that concern community and relationality within local ecologies in the arctic and sub-arctic contexts of Fennoscandia.

In 2019, he worked as one of four curators of the Lofoten International Art Festival (with Hilde Methi, Karolin Tampere and Torill Østby Haaland), where he co-initiated The Kelp Congress artistic research event (produced by Annette Wolfsberger), and co-edited its subsequent publication. Between 2020 and 2023 he led the curatorial team at Pikene på Broen in Kirkenes where he was responsible for the direction of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 editions of the Barents Spektakel festival, and where he also initiated the Det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living artistic research project, which concluded in the form of the festival exhibition during the 2023 edition of Festspillene i Nord Norge in Harstad. Since 2017 he has been part of the Mustarinda Association in Kainuu, Finland, where he is now a board member and co-editor of the association’s printed publication. His research practice has also been exhibited/performed in recent years at the Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts (2020) and Skien Kunsthall (2021).

Neal now works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lapland and is part of the Sustainable Naturecultures and Multispecies Futures research community, where his practice-research involves a long-distance listening expedition along the UKK hiking trail in Finland, and the composition of a long poetic text which meditates on the current trends in the use of the preposition “with” in contemporary research, artistic, ecological, and political contexts.

Keywords: sound, listening, John Cage, curatorship, poetics, kelp, arctic, mobility, relationality, post-fossil transitions, Mustarinda, the sweetness of living, environmental humanities.

Select publications

Cahoon, N., Kaartinen M., Nikolić, M. & Pasanen, Anu. eds. Elinvoima, Mustarinda Magazine (8), Mustarinda-seura ry, Hyrynsalmi, 2023.

Cahoon, N., Valan, I. & Pikene på Broen (curators). Det Gode Liv // The Sweetness of Living. Festspillene i Nord-Norge, Harstad, 2023. Documented on: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pikenepaabroen/albums/72177720309532431/

Cahoon, N. Sko(g)klang, part of the “Hender og føtter som kode for gjennomtrukken jord” Exhibition (Løvgren Å,. & Gunsholt, S, curators). Spriten Kunsthall, Skien, 2021. Documented on: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kunstnerbyen/albums/72157720170921428

Cahoon, N, Methi H., & Wolfsberger A. The Kelp Congress / Tangboka. NNKS Press, Svolvær, 2020. https://nnks.no/en/kunstkanalen/tangboka

Cahoon, N. Näkki Meets the Moon-Clock. Kaltio Cultural Magazine 4/2020, Oulu. 2020. https://kaltio.fi/nakki-meets-the-moon-clock/

Cahoon, N., Haaland T., Methi H., & Tampere K (curators). LIAF 2019. Lofoten International Art Festival. North Norwegian Art Centre, Svolvær, 2019. https://info.liaf.no/archive/2019-high-tides/

A More-than-Human Humanities Research Group