Sonifying the definitive Brazilian icon
Bandeira do Brasil—the Flag of Brazil—is a ubiquitous, yet definitive icon that represents the nation of Brazil. Although many countries include astronomy on their flag, the Flag of Brazil is unique in that the astronomy represented on the flag depicts a specific moment in time: the exact minute that Brazil declared its independence. Each star represents a specific state, so moving from one star to another is effectively a virtual tour of the country. Order and Progress: a sonic segue across A Auriverde is an abstract audiovisual sojourn across the Flag of Brazil realized as a sonified and politicized astronomy show, evoking emotions and responses through the use of fantasy, mystery, exaggeration, distortion and parallelism.
From culture to nature and back. A personal journey through the soundscapes of Colombia
The purpose of this essay is twofold: to celebrate the astonishing richness and diversity of Colombia’s natural and human soundscapes, and to reconstruct the process through which my direct experience of those soundscapes has influenced my own creative work as a composer. Reflecting on a long personal and intellectual journey of discovery that plays out on many levels – musical, anthropological, aesthetical – helps bring to the fore important questions on music composition as the locus of cultural appropriation and reinterpretation. How far can the belief system of a distant culture travel before it loses its meaning? From a post-colonial perspective, can a European composer justify the use and repurposing of ideas, sounds and songs from marginalised indigenous communities? In trying to give an answer to these questions through the lens of my own experience I keep unravelling layer upon layer of complexity, in a fascinating game of mirrors where my own identity as a "Western" composer starts crumbling away.
The triangle and the thin biscuit: reverberations of a walking practice
Thaís Amorim Aragão
The sound of the triangle played by street vendors who sell a kind of wafer (called chegadinho) in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza is often associated with childhood memories. Taken together, however, these acoustically marked trajectories can reveal an even more complex dynamics, both regarding the city's own territory and its relationship to other places in Latin America and Europe. The aim of this article is to present data collected from contact with street vendors who reported how they use sound and space to communicate with the population. In addition, we also discuss documentary research on the precedence of the practice, as well as its influence on the Brazilian music.
Sonic Politics: Sonority, Territoriality and Violence in Urban Cultural Practices in Brazil
Pedro Silva Marra
This paper listens to the relationship between sonority, territoriality and violence in the context of urban cultural practices such as sports, religiosity, sociability in bars and restaurants, and political demonstrations. The article seeks to understand how power relations, in these contexts, are embodied and materialize through sonic disputes that impact the agents involved in such confrontations and asymmetries. Eventually, it elaborates on the legitimacy of these violent dynamics emphasizing the ways in which they exert the exercise of power in the somatic level.
Fists Up: Orchestrating Silence in Mexico City’s Post-Earthquake Rescuing Activities
Elisa Corona Aguilar
On 9 September 2017, an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale hit Mexico City, causing the collapse of more than fifty buildings and damaging many others. As the usual urban soundscape intensified with the general chaos, the collapsed buildings and their vicinities were filled with new, unusual loudness, but there was also silence, partial and momentary. It was a hope for survivors, a call to listen again and again when there were sounds of life among the ruins. Fists raised up in the air became the generalized call for silence, a way to communicate both attention and pause in the activity around a specific place. As the media spread images of the fists up and how this signal created silence, its layered meanings became present.
Through a series of interviews with participants and witnesses of the rescue activities and a compilation of journalistic text and images, I will trace the brief history and transformation of the fists up gesture, and I will explore the implications of orchestrating silence in emergency circumstances.
The City of Noise: an Approach to the Multiple Senses of Sound in Buenos Aires
Facundo Petit de Murat and Martina Di Tullio
In this article we propose a historical approach to noise in Buenos Aires during the first half of the twentieth century. During this period, Buenos Aires consolidated itself materially and symbolically as a modern city. Through the study of historical documents, we identified different meanings of noise in relation to progress, health, culture, silence, space, and time. The main argument is that, at first, social imaginary associated noise to progress; however, this view rapidly changed in the search for an ideal of relative silence. In this process, some specific sonic practices started being classified as uncivilized. In this sense, the modern imaginary? delineates the boundaries of what is acoustically tolerable; this produces human subjects perceived as morally inferior, whose practices must be legally regulated. This is the context for the emergence of devices aimed at controlling and mitigating urban noise: legal norms and measuring systems that intend to regulate – albeit inefficiently – the sonic habitus.
Sound and Politics. Shaping Current Artistic Practices in Latin America
In some ways, the current political landscape of Latin America seems to mirror the condition of the world today. However, the impact achieved by the collective creativity of the pueblo, its communitarian understanding and acting, should never be underestimated. Nevertheless, Latin America does not seem to shy away from complexity or change. Without wanting to idealize, this trait can also be seen to work within arte sonoro's current artistic practices and manifestations. These subjective observations are based on my 15 years of work as an artist, curator and academic at the State University UdelaR (Universidad de la República) in Montevideo with a focus on arte sonoro in Uruguay.
Navegando hacia un sur sonoro: Two Sound Stories From South America
As a moving and expanding terrain, sound art in South America is a research, application and sharing environment for a work developed by at least three decades of artists who have experimented with methods and processes in which sound intersects with digital technologies and with unconventional approaches to listening. The text presented here focuses specifically on two works produced within this extended context of practices, which offer many types of sound narration in which different elements emerge connected to the complexity of the levels of listening, even political in the South: Temporal de Santa Rosa by Brian Mackern, a recording and installation project that reinterprets popular, religious and traditional elements in a post-digital key and Antartica 1961-1996, an installation by Alejandra Pérez Núñez that investigates the imperceptibility of the political processes of appropriation of the Antarctic territory in recent decades by part of nation states.
The Triangle and the Thin Biscuit: Reverberations of a Walking Practice
Thaís Amorim Aragão
The sound of the triangle played by street vendors who sell a kind of wafer, known as chegadinho, in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza is often associated with childhood memories. Taken together, however, these acoustically marked trajectories can reveal complex dynamics regarding the city's own territory and its relationship to other places in Latin America and Europe. This article aims to present data collected from street vendors who reported on how they use sound and space to communicate with the population. I also discuss documentary research on the precedence of the practice as well as its influence on Brazilian music.
Rail Transport Soundscapes: Journeys in the Urban Space of São Paulo
Project R$4.00 proposes a study of the soundscapes of public rail transport in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. The author travelled with an audio recorder for more than three hours on the city’s subway and train lines. The aim was to analyze the sound similarities and differences between the 12 city lines. This recording was transformed into a sound installation which uses binaural techniques to recreate the sound spatialization recorded inside the wagons.
Tropicália: Sonic Resistance, Relationships, and Reframing
In 1964, the military dictatorship in Brazil seized political power and extended their domain to many facets of Brazilian society. In this context of repression, artists and musicians created the powerful yet short-lived cultural movement called Tropicália. This paper examines the sounds of the Tropicália in response to the call to remap sound studies to include sounds of the “South” issued by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes in their edited volume Remapping Sound Studies. Concerning the terms “South” and “North,” they critically probe conceptualizations of the South not only in terms of geography but also as implicit bias in power relations. Significantly, they argue against the use of the “South” as an oversimplified binary that is contrasted with framings of the conceptual “North.” Instead, they argue that the terms are fluid and indicate both “empirical categories” and “ideological constructs” (Steingo and Sykes 2019: 3).
Taking issue with the hegemonic influences along multiple axes of power, Steingo and Sykes argue for the fundamental need to examine sounds from the South as constituting an important but often neglected genre in the large field of sound studies. To fill this need, they make three proposals for the remapping of a new cartography of sound theory. First, in terms of sounds’ relationship to technology, Steingo and Sykes urge for exploration of the constitution of culture through techniques made possible by technological innovation. Second, they argue for sonic studies to move in a relational direction to illuminate the relationship between listener and what is heard. Third, they encourage scholars to unpack the elements of sonic studies that reveal friction and antagonism, particularly in terms of social relations, a shift that moves the field beyond the perceptual qualities of sound toward the emotional and relational constructions of sounds as they are interpreted by listeners.
Radio Art in Brazil: A Panorama of Artists and Productions
Mauro Sá Rego Costa, Adriana Gomes Ribeiro and Pedro de Albuquerque Araujo
Abstract: The essay begins with a synthetic history of the emergence of radio art in Brazil. We present different ways in which radio art is produced and programmed in Brazil, enumerating the principal stations and artists, starting with the two public cultural stations in which it was first produced: Rádio Cultura FM (São Paulo) and Rádio MEC FM (Rio de Janeiro). The text also introduces readers to artists who have created radio art and sound art pieces in and out of the space of airwaves within art galleries and museums or outdoors. Finally, we present the most recent overview of Brazilian radio art using the Internet and all interconnected media.