If sound “can help to decolonize our gaze and reveal geographies and spaces that are hidden in the surface of modernistic maps […], unlocking the soundscape as an archive in which documents, voices, objects, and silences are scattered” (Pisano 2015: 89), analyzing these sonic narrations, developed in the form of installations or new media art works, can question the hegemonic impositions on Latin America’s historical discourse and capitalism’s cognitive influence on constructed subjectivities and objectifications.
This essay calls for Sound Studies to engage directly and systematically with the tools of postcolonial and decolonial theory. It suggests that these two provide a set of strategies, theories, and methodologies which, when applied to sonic art practices that open up spaces of enquiry in a specific context such as Latin America, can question hegemonic and violent subjectivation. Issues related to contemporary ecological, political, and economic crises can be tackled on scales from local fragmentation to the global Anthropocene. Sound practices that suspend an immediate and transparent understanding of reality present an alternative means of engaging with direct yet incidental experiences, which may enable other ways of approaching places, spaces, territories. In substituting strict geographical limits, this approach triggers reflections concerning cartography, identity, community, global and local relationships, coloniality, and colonialism. Such an investigation through art and sound, open to listening, feeling, and negotiating meanings about cultural production and hierarchies, elicit “glimpses of pasts and futures becoming present that are ‘always there’ in virtual co-presence, but that may otherwise never surface” (Stirling 2013).