Based on these considerations, the language, form, and aesthetics of both pieces were built almost simultaneously. Sounds were configured from the listening of everyday life, that is, through field recordings and communication networks (somewhat random) generated at a distance, without imposing meaning on them. Breathe was made by a need to “touch” the other through sound, as a means of facing the prevailing prohibition of bodily/oral contact. Wet Season/Dry Season, on the other hand, was made by a need to connect two stories of (post)socialism and ecologies of posthuman agents. From this position, sound is conceived as a temporal-spatial rubric of Being, which is staged and is, above all, a way of being and sounding collectively, as opposed to the coloniality of Being that silencesthe Global South.
From this sound complexity, formed by networks of acoustic bodies, listening is built from an us situated between contemplation, action, and multiple locations in geographic and political terms. This listening is not located solely in the ear, nor does it focus on a musical or sonic hermeneutics (for example through the tools and frameworks of Western music theory); it is a listening from the body that implies touch, as a sense located both externally and internally in the body (Nancy 2007), that is, as a membrane that makes a difference and palpates the outside from the inside. We seek to include a historical dimension in the practice of listening, which could be linked to the postcolonial condition of cultural meanings in Abya-Yala.It is also a listening to the sonic unconscious, which implies paying attention to the acoustic and historical sedimentations that form stories and subordinate narratives embedded in everyday life.
When we say that it is not a matter of hearing that is only located in the ear and we speak of a listening of which touch is part, we refer to a way of peripherally perceiving – with the feet, the hips, and the stomach – the low, telluric frequencies, like those of the water in Wet Season/Dry Season and those of the breathing sounds present in Breathe. Hearing and touch constitute a continuum, the effects of which can be observed through dance-musical genres such as the son jarocho, the Chilean cuecas, in which the instrumental performer (someone who sings and plays the jarana, for example) usually takes turns with the other musician, a percussionist who taps or vice versa. We experience this audio/tactile perception when we sound collectively or when the vibrant earth of Mexico City shakes under our feet during an earthquake, when we make a mess, when we whistle to send a message, when we play (Hernandez and Toro 2020: 161). The example of earthquakes gives us a particular way of hearing the telluric vibration from touch, as a wave, whose amplitude and regularity are measured in Richter degrees. In some regions of the Mexican Pacific coast it is said that the “earth roars” when an earthquake of considerable magnitude occurs, that is, the oscillation of the tectonic layers produces a sound that both goes through and is captured with the whole body. In the public transport in Mexico City or in popular dances, such as cumbia or banda, perhaps due to a technical deficiency in the audio systems or a stylistic issue in which the low frequencies are intensified, they are captured as vibrations that shake the space and mark the rhythm of the dancing bodies, which in turn participate in the generation of sound through their movement. It sounds with what sounds to us, and thus we sound collectively.
Expanding listening beyond the ear, extending it to touch and colonial history, implies de-centering its passive functions and practices, inherited from the tradition of Western musical conservatories, to place the subject as a sonating body that vibrates collectively with other bodies. It implies placing the perception on the other side of difference, from the other “edge of the border,” crossed out and marginalized due to the effect of the coloniality of knowledge and its aural technologies. Four of our senses (sight, smell, taste, and hearing) are conceived as head-based, but here we convey how touch and hearing are intertwined, forming a continuum of inside and outside, forming an acoustic body, not only thinking but dreaming.
As mentioned, the sound materials used for Breathe emerged from the recording of daily listening during confinement in a context in which community and sociability had ostensibly been diminished by the distancing of bodies. However, except for the breaths and the initial planning that contemplated a choir built from them, the selection and integration of this sound repertoire in the piece does not come from an intellectualization, planning, or intention to operate as an intermediary or interpreter of these senses and sound intentions. In the case of Wet Season/Dry Season, the sound materials were co-formed with the (post)socialist stories of two nations that, in similar ways, based their feeding on rice and water, two natural elements that have their own historical meaning for both epistemic horizons. Both pieces were the product of an unconscious listening that was clarified and systematized during the process, both through rapport between those involved and in the realization of the two pieces. When analyzing the sound materials and the composition of both pieces, we noticed that this sound arsenal had been captured from everyday life and the set of bodies and ecologies that existed in a sonic communication with each other; that is, both pieces contained what was heard in the immediate environment (machines, animals, automatic systems, the sea) of those creating it, including (the author's) deep breathing, the frequencies of the nervous system, the pulse, and the water.
In this context, it was through the sounds and their continuity that narratives of the movement of bodies in space, their affectivities, and their joint performance as a concomitant acoustic body were generated. Our gaze made a transition from the immediate spaces of everyday life and the multi-situated geopolitics of (post)socialism. In the middle of the confinement, in the middle of a soliloquy in front of the bathroom mirror, an uncomfortable, disruptive sound appeared, a noise that questioned – coming from the floor above, from the one below, from a distant parking lot, or from a bird trilling its song – that transported us to the sonorous present of another, that touched us and inhabited us. The interpellation of the other, of the unconscious or of the body, are perceived by coloniality as noise or dissonance, from a horizon of thought that marginalizes and disciplines bodies and sounds. In contrast, the decolonial listening approach implies reception, that is, making space for the other within oneself. That is why it is also a position based on love, since this reception implies a transformation, a disruption of one's own space and identity, which leads us to community and diversity through sound.