Accepted paper:

Sound compass


Page McClean (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Paper short abstract:

Part of an audiovisual ethnographic art installation, "Reorienting Patagonia," this piece explores the practices and territorialities of dwelling along Chile's "Carretera Austral" or Southern Highway, a 1240-kilometer road that passes through the least populated regions of Patagonia.

Paper long abstract:

Mostly associated with the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, the Southern Highway is still under construction. Before the road, most routes in Patagonia traveled east-west, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Andes, winter grazing to summer pastures, and Chile to Argentina through mountain passes and gaps. Through planning, engineering, and construction, the road attempts to re-orient the compass towards the more industrialized northern provinces and capital. While the sounds of east and west still pervade the sonic compass, the ease of north-south travel has mobilized new sounds, voices, and ideas in the region that do not necessarily follow the contours of the landscape. As the construction of the road has re-oriented the people who live in the region, this piece explores the politics of space through sound. The acoustics of dwelling engage with ways in which local and central Chilean understandings of the region encounter each other in space and place. As Harvey and Knox (2015) write of roads, the engineer's designs rarely take into account the rich (sonic) experience of wayfaring. In this piece, listeners will hear sounds that orient and others that disrupt one's orientation in an attempt to represent the experience of both dwelling and conducting preliminary fieldwork. They will have to engage their listening to orient themselves to the land and sense the disorienting nature of the road. The piece is composed from field recordings made in May and June 2016.

panel Body06
The acoustics of dwelling, a sound programme