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Message posted on 25/06/2020

EASA Lab on fieldwork recordings and sound archives, Call for contributions

Dear Vaneasa members,

do you have a field recording stashed somewhere, abandoned because of technical glitches, not fitting the analytical framework, or having some other perceived shortcoming at the time? We have a laboratory in EASA2020 for the purpose of revisiting those recordings and discussing them.

Time: 24th July at 24pm (UTC+1) Location: online

Short abstract: This lab proposes to work on and think about new afterlives for anthropologists' sound recordings. By focussing on the figural excesses, technological deficiencies, or analytical uselessness of these objects, the lab participants collaboratively envision and bring about novel purposes for them. The different topics raised within the lab may include: (our own) sound archives, the sound of technology and the way we can work with the medium's sonic materiality, and the issues and forms of an aesthetics of error. The discussion will be initiated by the sound artist Ernst Karel (Sensory Ethnography Lab, Harvard University).

Full abstract and more information (contcts, discussant) on the lab website : https://bit.ly/rec-afterlives

We invite people to submit their raw recordings, polished edits, or anything in between. Please contact one of the convenors if you are interested or have any questions.

NB. The last day for early bird conference registration is 29th June. Low income / concession member fees start from 15 euros.

Best regards, Jonathan Larcher & Heikki Wilenius


Long abstract: For decades, anthropologists have approached film, video and sound recordings as raw data subordinated to a research strategy. Once the film, the book or the research is finished, these materials are usually conceived as archives (Lajoux 1976) or, more seldom, as materials to be reinvested through the practice of feedback and "dialogic editing" (Feld 1987) with our interlocutors. These practices tend to treat recordings as disposable matter, which, once used, ends up discarded or even never used, because of various reasons - e.g. technical mistakes during recording, analogue deterioration or digital glitches, or not fulfilling the promise of being interesting or useful. In an approach that is sensitive to the media-technical material conditions of our recordings, this lab proposes to listen to and tinker with field recordings, paying particular attention to the kind of "figural excess" (Pinney 2005) contained in fieldwork recordings. The lab explores the idea of how seizing field recordings as autonomous material objects, which have an independent existence besides their status as a "research commodity" (Birtwistle 2010), might open up their interpretation. Participants are invited to upload snippets of audiovisual or aural material, which can be raw, work in progress or already completed. The lab will take place virtually on the conference platform, where these materials (video of a performance/film, audio file of a sound piece) will be listened to or watched collectively, and discussed afterwards. Participants who wish to present something at the lab are requested to contact the convenors in advance.


Jonathan Larcher Post-doctoral Fellow, New Europe College (Bucharest) PhD in Anthropology & Filmmaker EHESS (CRAL) http://cral.ehess.fr/index.php?1727


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