Anthropologists of sound and acoustic ecologists have considered the problem of “schizophonia” - the technological separation of a sound from its source - through the rubrics of noise pollution and the cultural appropriation of sound recordings. Adding to this conversation and in the spirit of recent American Anthropology Association multimodal panels, this collaborative project considers the contemporary digital terrain of field recording through the speculative tools of multimedia artists. Central to the discussion will be a collaborative sound installation between anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and artists. Ordinary Schizophonia foregrounds moments of breakdown, interference, and environmental noise, as well as the speculative malleability and potential of schizophonic auditory reproduction. The multi-channel audio installation seeks to expand ordinary, everyday attunements to ecological fragilities.
ECHOES AND EDGES: Sonic Forms for Distributed Listening
Sound, echoes, infrasound, reverberations and resonance reside at the thresholds of perception, amplifying what lies beyond a human sensoria. Drawing on and developing the collaborative sound installation and roundtable discussion presented at the 2019 AAAs, these sound works address the threshold of a singular sensoria by exploring a plurality of sonic attunements. If “Ordinary Schizophonia” sought to interrogate the separation of sounds from their sources in the ecologically-fragile state of circulation and their everyday contexts, then these additive responses seek an alternative form of accumulation—of generativity, curiosity, experimentation, epistemological variance and expression. This illustrates the stakes of living in a precarious, confusing and uncertain world of anthropogenic climate change, the terms of its global envelopment, and the necessity of adaptation with varied forms of attention. We ask: how might multimodal compositional attunements to multispecies encounters reveal our interdependency? In turn, how might these collective forms of listening challenge the terms of ethnographic authorship or its expressions, and explore the possibilities of a posthuman, or inhuman, perception? And lastly, how might the series of collaborative exchanges and its labors reveal complexity and tension, disharmonious composition, gaps and holes and rhythms that, by way of their expression, critique the way they formed?