New Chronologies of Sound

Lab3 Sound Experimentation Room, Modern Art Museum of Medellin. March 16 – June 12, 2022

Guest artists: Hugo Branco, Diana Combo, Gustavo Costa, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Lawrence English, Antye Greie-Ripatti, Matthew Herbert, Miguel Isaza, Kyoka, B J Nielsen, Laura Romero and Natalia Valencia

Curatorship: Hugo Branco (Vic Nic) and Jorge Bejarano Barco (MAMM)

“I listen to the soundscape as a language with which places and societies express themselves. (…) I compose with any sound that the environment offers to the microphones, just as a writer works with all the words that a language provides.” -Hildegard Westerkamp

Every event of planetary dimensions generates a new perceived time axis: a collectively perceived “before-during-after relation”, shared at a global scale. If “before” means what most of the world has obliviously come to consider as normality; and “during” refers to the current situation of confinement, de-confinement or re-confinement (depending on the context); “after” still insists, maybe more than ever, in presenting itself as an absolute enigma, open to infinite new speculations, anxieties and expectations.

How does this new perceived time axis affect our ways of listening? How does it affect the ways in which we create? How can fields such as sound art and acoustic ecology generate reflection about the new anxieties and expectations introduced by such uncertainty? And how are sound artists across the globe responding to emerging limitations and challenges?

Commissioned by the Aveiro Municipality via Teatro Aveirense within the context of the “Culture in Times of (un)Certainty” municipal strategy, “New Chronologies of Sound” proposes to generate debate on such issues by developing a collection of sound works based on field recordings, which reflect upon those matters. The artistic research project gathers artists and researchers from all over the globe, encompassing a broad diversity of aesthetics, geographies, processual latitudes and conceptual attitudes, which range from pure field recordings and processed soundscapes down to more musical or compositional uses of found sounds.

Furthermore, through the support of Direcção Geral das Artes and the partnerships established with organisations such as MAMM, INET-md, GrETUA, MUSA or AEJE, the original project has branched out into other promising courses, such as an exhibition taking place at the Museum of Modern Art of Medellín, Colombia; the “Negative Mass” free sound bank, comprised of samples and recordings used by the participant artists to compose their sound works; and the “A Collection of Whispers” selection of essays, which debate, from a sonic perspective, the emergence of a new perceived time axis due to the global pandemic landscape. 

The exhibition addresses a specific characteristic of the experience of the pandemic and other global events: their exceptional ability to alter the perception of time. In a timely manner, each event that encompasses planetary dimensions generates a new axis of perceived time: a “before-during-after” relationship perceived collectively and shared on a global scale. In the case of Covid-19, if “before” means what most Western societies have unconsciously come to regard as normal, and “during” refers to the situation of confinement, deconfinement or reconfinement, depending on each local context , the “after” insists on presenting itself as an absolute enigma open to infinite new speculations, anxieties and expectations. New chronologies of sound is presented as a reading of the “during” to glimpse what still awaits us or that “after” that slips through our hands.