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Accepted paper:

Topologies of fragmentation: taking "noise" seriously in Chilean paranormal and ufological investigation

Author:

Diana Espirito Santo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper the concepts of "noise" and "silence" are analyzed in depth as ethnographic-turning-into-analytical categories that shed light on processes of recovering and generating histories from the topologies of "haunted" places in Santiago, Chile.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper the concepts of "noise" and "silence" are analyzed in depth as ethnographic-turning-into-analytical categories that shed light on processes of recovering and generating histories from the topologies of "haunted" places in Santiago, Chile. I explore the dynamics of sound in paranormal investigation in locations of political ambiguity, tied to the military regime of Augusto Pinochet, and argue that soundscapes (Eisenlohr, 2012) are poised as excavation devices for multiple historical topologies, providing a kind of archaeology across a multitude of historical voices. As locations of suffering, torture and death, the places discussed are obscured from normative historical accounts of the dictatorship; the point of such investigations resides in accruing "bits" of memory from the machines involved and reconstructing story-lines of geographical and biographical memory. These apparatuses generate sound, static, fragments of voices and fast-moving phonemes - the so-called "noise" - seen as a backdrop from which invisible entities are thought to "make" words, or images. These words or images come in fragments, laden by the ambiguities of the corresponding affective atmospheres (Anderson, 2009), and are suggestive, but not determinate of, particular hidden realities, reconstituted through "partial connections". I compare this ethnographic instance to the interpretation process on extraterrestrial phenomena in current Chilean ufology, and its will to unearth, via the "noise" left in human bodies, a cosmology of aliens long at war. "Noise", in both cases, as analytic, acts as a pseudo-archaeological device to penetrate layers of historical causalities, where silence is just as ontologically impactful.

panel B10
Unearthing Memories: Remembering and Forgetting as Subterranean Practices