Sonic Realism / Wave #1 April 2020

Editor's note #1

Sound waves are affected by matter. While facing an obstacle they bend, forging alternative paths that draw upon new images of movement, like currents tightening as they pass through a narrow waterway. We thought of diffraction as a powerful metaphor to consider sound and politics. Diffraction is the phenomena of sound, light or electromagnetic waves whose movements are dictated by the obstructions they encounter. The contingencies of sounds in relation to matter are testimonies of the world: sonic realism.

Karen Barad´s contribution to our first wave questions the paradoxes of language and space. What she calls ‘nothingness’ exceeds mere emptiness, creating a theoretical vacuum full of meaning and potentiality. “At the very least, listening to nothing would seem to require exquisite attention to every subtle detail,” Barad argues in her exquisite journey through quantum physics and the theoretical endeavor of nothingness.

Four metal sculptures patterned after indigenous traditions of weaving stand in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. The vibrations produced from the wind manufacture techno-poetic signals. The Navajo artist and music composer, Raven Chacon introduces us to his work through seminal questions regarding the relationship between sound, technique and musical composition.

Journeying from London to the indigenous Mapuche lands of Chile is a sonic piece presented by Patricia Domínguez. The work takes shape with the collaboration of the electronic project Futuro Fosil and Czech designers Radim Lisa and Terezie Štindlová. The piece looks into the mutation of coloniality into neoliberalism by an exploration of sonic sensibilities associated with indigenous territories and the cosmopolitan experience of the city.

Lorenzo Aillapán, also known as El Hombre Pájaro, is an indigenous Mapuche leader, shaman, and poet whose work examines birdsong. He doesn’t endeavor to emulate, but to translate the calls into interpretable signals. El Hombre Pájaro delivers a constellation of sounds that are aware of current social predicaments: one birdsong announces deforestation, while another environmental deterioration. In this collaboration, Patricia Dominguez and Lorenzo Aillapán engage in conversation about Chile´s territory, the dichotomy of urbanity-rurality and Aillapan’s work as a communal leader.

A comparative perspective between the curator Sol Henaro and the visual artist and theorist Zbyněk Baladrán focuses on May '68. Ranging from Henaro´s co-curated exhibition at MUAC: Graphic of the 68 in Mexico, to Zbyněk's project around the Prague Spring, the paradoxical nature regarding the notions of social emancipation from both contexts is revealed, while realizing how little State repression has changed more than 50 years later.

Finally, a conversation between the Finnish artist, Terike Haapoja and Infrasonica’s Editor in Chief, Pablo José Ramírez discusses animality, race and interspecies politics. The conversations arise from Terike’s project, The Party of Others, and ranges from issues of governmentality and representation to the onto-epistemologies of race, ending with Haapoja’s questions: “What sounds emerge in my silence, and also, how can I use silence as a form of resistance. Also: whisper, intimacy, nonlinguistic communication, all these other ways of making community.”

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