Project Name: Sounds of Fieldwork: A Researcher’s Perspective on Afro-Chilean Movement Work as Social Reproduction
Grantee: Kelsey Chatlosh
Funding Cycle: 2019-2020
About the Project:
I will share the sounds of my fieldwork research on women-led Afro-Chilean activism in northern Chile for recognition, territory, and equity through a public digital sound art exhibit hosted both in Arica, Chile and at the GC, using a sensory ethnographic approach. The exhibit will show how I came to theorize the labor of this movement as a form of social reproduction, as well as a glimpse into my experience as an ethnographer researching it. The exhibit will highlight a selection of voices of activist leaders and community members across various generations, and recordings of musical performances and political marches. Audio of these selected sounds will play on loop through a set of seven umbrellas hanging from the ceiling that I will transform into conduits of sound into a spotlighted space directly below each umbrella. Exhibit visitors may wander through the spotlights one-at-a-time to listen in. I will also set up a canvas “sound tent” with speakers lining its inner circumference to share the audio of a soundscape of the house where I stayed in Arica. I will pin patches of fabric inside the tent showing images of my field notes, influential books, and landscapes. Visitors may enter the the sound tent to sit and absorb a perspective into my fieldwork experience. Visitors will be guided by bilingual wall text and available audio transcriptions and translation handouts. The exhibit will thus draw together approaches from the digital humanities, anthropology, and sound studies and art, demonstrating the significance of sound as “a modality of knowing and being in the world” (Feld 2000) as well as the intimacy invoked by small sounds of voices and home spaces. It will provide an engaging and accessible method of publicly sharing my dissertation research and its subjective ethnographic methodology. In the spirit of open access, I will also organize a workshop and share a tutorial on how to recreate these relatively affordable mechanisms for creatively sharing sounds using digital technologies in offline spaces.