Before I turn to enchanted maps, I need to say more about new materialism, though I do not have time to enter the extensive debates between them and other “more than human” approaches which all seek to move beyond anthropocentrism. My own way into this sort of theory was initially via Actor Network Theory (ANT) and Sarah Whatmore’s hybrid geography. ANT is focused on networks and relations across categories, including between animate beings, inanimate objects, concepts, ideas or ideologies, institutions or organizations, and spaces. ANT approaches social networks as contingent and performative. What Bruno Latour and others involved in ANT have been doing, in developing a way to talk about animate-inanimate relations, is a useful point of departure to trouble an absolute, essential, human-centric otherness – perhaps to actually trouble otherness altogether – because with ANT all can be actors in a network. As Latour puts it, with useful attention to voice, we need to get past the idea that “things don’t talk” (Latour 2005: 107, my italics). How things do talk can, I hope, be made audible through enchanted mapping.
Despite their differences, the various approaches to the more-than-human share a concern, as anthropologist Tim Ingold puts it, with
the ground we walk, the ever-changing skies, mountains and rivers, rocks and trees, the houses we inhabit and the tools we use, not to mention the innumerable companions, both non-human animals and fellow humans, with which and with whom we share our lives. They are constantly inspiring us, challenging us, telling us things. (Ingold 2011: xii)
And it is these more-than-human voices that tell us things, and ways that we can listen to them, that I will explore with enchanted mapping.
To introduce enchanted maps, I’ll turn to Jon Rose’s Fences Project. Rose is a violinist, composer, performer, and instrument builder as well as a radiomaker and installation artist. Over the years, he has been adding more and more strings to stranger and stranger instruments. At times he turned whole gallery spaces into stringed instruments, but at a certain point he thought:
Why was I making string installations when the continent that I was living on was covered with strings? That became the conceit: Australia was not mapped out with millions of miles of fences; it was hooked up to millions of miles of string instruments. (Rose 2012b: 197)
In this project, Rose and his collaborator Hollis Taylor have traveled the Australian continent, listening to, playing, and playing with the voices of the barbed wire fences, performatively bringing forth their voices.
Jon Rose - Great Fences
The Fences Project is, in part, a response to Australian Aboriginal culture and the way it hears country speak. To clarify this, let me cite Deborah Bird Rose (no relation),
Country in Aboriginal English is not only a common noun but also a proper noun. People talk about country in the same way that they would talk about a person: they speak to country, sing to country, visit country, worry about country, feel sorry for country, and long for country. People say that country knows, hears, smells, takes notice, takes care, is sorry or happy. Country is not a generalized or undifferentiated type of place, such as one might indicate with terms like ‘spending a day in the country’ or ‘going up the country.’ Rather, country is a living entity with a yesterday, today and tomorrow, with a consciousness, and a will toward life. (Rose 1996: 7)
As I suggested at the beginning, enchanted maps are a sort of origami version of the first two maps, folding together affect and place, the intimate and the social into an enchanted mapping which lets us listen to what people, animals, and things voice about and beyond themselves. Enchanted mapping riffs off political theorist Jane Bennett’s idea of the enchantment that is “already in and around us” in the modern world if we can just sense it (Bennett 2001: 174). In The Enchantment of the Modern World, Bennett discussed what is at stake and how we need to sense the enchantment and wonder of the modern world in order to reanimate our engagement with it so that we may then behave more ethically. As she says:
Without modes of enchantment, we might not have the energy and inspiration to enact ecological projects, or to contest ugly and unjust modes of commercialization, or to respond generously to humans and nonhumans that challenge our settled identities. These enchantments are already in and around us. (Bennett 2001: 174)
Voice in particular – uncanny and affective, alluring, and disturbing – has the potential to make the enchantment of the modern world audible.
This raises questions for me: how can we, as sound theorists and practitioners, make these enchantments audible, and how can we listen to them? These are questions I’d like to explore through the enchanted map. Bennett suggests that one way to think about enchanted listening and listening to enchantment is through “overhearing” – in the alchemical sense. With alchemical hearing and overhearing, inadvertent material seeps in as you hear things simultaneously, superimposed, transforming the whole of what you are hearing. In short, alchemical overhearing is a listening to the knowledge that something already has.
Bennett’s enchantment, in a new materialist sense, makes audible the voices of non-humans and things and their relations with each other and with humans. We can hear this in a radio work of Jon Rose, Syd and George (2007) where, in part, through the voicings of his violin, we can hear how Syd and George, man and bird, started to shape-shift and morph into each other over their 20-year-long interspecies relationship (Rose 2012a).
Jon Rose - Syd and George
Syd, George, and Jon Rose, with and through his violin, cross into each other in a sort of sonic morphism. For Jane Bennett (echoing, as she says, Bruno Latour) morphism questions sharp distinctions, such as between nature and culture, and recognizes instead the hybridity or "crossings" as “an essential component of an ethical, ecologically aware life” (Bennett 2001: 99).
These voices speak from the world, telling us about themselves and the world. In a way, the idea that we can listen to voices through enchanted maps is not new, as we know from Don Ihde, who, among others, explored the idea that humans, animals, and things have a voice or “give” voice (Ihde 2007; Lingis 2009). In the context of new materialism, I think that we can take this audition even further, to listen perhaps in different ways to these different voices. I would suggest that enchanted mapping opens just such a conversation between voice studies and new materialism, enabling us to extend our thinking about voice itself, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to deepen our understanding of the relations between people, animals, and objects that new materialist thinkers are developing. And, importantly, the conversation can, I believe, respond to the ethical concerns that compel new materialism, to which Jane Bennett has pointed.
In her more recent, and very influential, book, Vibrant Matter, Bennett regularly evokes voice to convey the expressivity of things and assemblages. “Thus spoke the grid,” she says in her exploration of the NYC blackout of 2003 (Bennett 2010: 36). So, from a new materialist perspective, it is not just humans who speak, but also things: things speak within assemblages, in assemblages and “for” assemblages. Speaking performs here as both a metaphor and an effect, an activity or mode of an assemblage in which humans can become sensitive to listen to, and thus “hear or enhance our receptivity to ‘propositions’ not expressed in words” (Bennett 2010: 104). For new materialism, listening is a way of attending to a thing and to the assemblages in which things, people, and animals are enmeshed. And this listening, to my ears, is further apprehended and understood if we hear it as listening to a voice. This expansion of voice through new materialist enchanted mapping can, I hope, reinvigorate what we sense and think and know about and through voice.
 Anthropologist Tim Ingold comes at new materialism from a particular direction, because he is keen not to distinguish between things and their relations: for Ingold things are their relations. Rather than a network, as with ANT, of connected points which involves, in his view, reducing things to objects, Ingold proposes the figure of a meshwork to suggest a web of becomings, where things are lines of force, immersed in their medium (Ingold 2011: 63, 70, 72, 92-93).
 I explored alchemy, including overhearing, in the radiophonic work Separation Anxiety: not the truth about alchemy (Neumark 1996).