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Doing and Undoing Sonic Fieldnotes: Exploring the creative potential of audio samples in ethnographic research 
Anne Dippel (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
Alastair Mackie
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Thursday 25 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This lab will encourage participants to do and undo audio recordings from the field using sample-based synthesis and composition. Reflecting on our sonic fieldnotes, we will explore how engaging creatively with sound might expose us to unseen parts of our field and how this can inform our research.

Long Abstract:

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There is a limit of 15 participants!

The field is filled with multiple sounds which encourage scientific as well as creative sampling. Can both approaches inform each other? What kind of new harmonies and rhythms can we detect in our data which allow us to gain unheard, and perhaps also unseen insights (Mackie 2024)? How can they transform our modes of writing in times of transition (Dippel 2022)?

In this interactive lab we will engage with sonic field samples. Recording audio has long been important in ethnographic fieldwork but it is usually anathema to change samples in any way. In music however there is a long tradition of adapting samples for audio synthesis and new compositions. Can we, as ethnographers, also use samples to compose sonic fieldnotes? And could sample-based synthesis expose hidden parts of our field data which we otherwise might not have heard?

Extending from sonic ethnography (Gershon 2018), participants will explore the creative potential of fieldwork recordings. Introducing participants to ‘deep listening’ (Oliveros 2005), we will question what we hear and how we listen in the field. Participants will then be encouraged to record different locations in Barcelona and to collect audio. Using an app designed for recording and mangling samples, we will compose sonic fieldnotes. Afterwards we will discuss what we can learn from our explorations which we might have missed using other methods, and how this can inform our understanding of the field.