In the Field – ‘Collective, virtual and mediatised fields’

In the Field Symposium

Is the in-between space of the migratory context a sonic ‘field’? What is the field like that Networked Migrations performances such as ‘Letters and Bridges’ and ‘Migratory Dreams’ have created? How do you record it? These were some of the questions that I developed for a paper offered at the ‘In the Field’ International Symposium, which explored the art and craft of field recording and was organised by CRiSAP and the British Library (British Library Conference Centre, London, February 15th and 16th, 2013).

My participation in the panel ‘Collective, virtual and mediatised fields’ allowed me to explore the process lived by participants in the two performances, and raised my awareness of the layers of fields that were involved in each performance.

My abstract states:

‘While the migratory condition pushes participants to search for a sense of belonging in the new or original location, sound improvisation through the Internet and with a Deep Listening approach, creates for them virtual alternative fields. When they share their feelings related to their migrations, through voice expression and pre-recorded sounds, new resonances seem to create spaces detached from physical locations.’

After two days of the symposium reviewing historical, multipurpose, and creative experiences of recording in the field, my proposal of these alternative fields increased in my mind as being relevant. The perception of the inhabited space through different practices and technologies that expand our listening experience help us to inhabit known and unknown territories as a whole and expansive field. It’s about listening to nature and the temporality of decay (Chris Watson), to rural environments through an intimate filter of wool touching our ears (Felicity Ford), human activity that is influenced by acoustic landmarks in a mixture of ecological preoccupation and poetical rendition (Peter Cusack); it’s about locating our body as a field, too (Davide Tidone), it’s about experiencing in about 50 seconds the squeezing of a built space suggesting a memory of catastrophe (David Velez), and it’s about voicing the experience with sound, embodying the field in our voice (Salomé Voegelin).

Looking at my notes from my panel, I see the technology field is crucial in this expansive field. The importance of ‘liveness’ via radio streaming (Udo Noll) makes me think of metaphors for the network: a landscape of consciousness, a real time that is shared time, a sort of augmented audio reality? Zoe Irvine makes us aware of the routes taken by flying audiotape, creating memorials of audio kept in place. And Francesca Pannetta invites us to know the technological developments that allow narratives built from organised layers of sound, from the soundtrack tradition, using maps in London. Reconstruction and deconstruction of sound space, and the volatile nature of sound in a field, is a key point that this panel has left in my memory.

Grateful for this opportunity to listen, share and find connections.

To listen to the Symposium, click here.

Exhibition Migratory Dreams at Furtherfield Gallery – London

Migratory Dreams at Furtherfield Gallery from Ximena Alarcón on Vimeo.

‘Is this a performance, an exhibition, a show, or a picnic?’ and ‘What is this about?’ were some of the initial questions from visitors to the exhibition ‘Migratory Dreams’, which, despite the cold, brought around 50 people from all over the world to Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park on 2 March, 2013.

Curious visitors were greeted with sounds coming from loudspeakers placed on the exterior wall of the Gallery. Colombian food, such as exotic fruit juices, empanadas (pastries), envueltos de mazorca (cornbread rolled in corn leaves), arequipe and natilla (milk-based desserts), helped to emphasise the migratory nature of the event and evoked memories and relationships with both territory and body: reminders of a land that used to feed Colombians and latinoamerican migrants. The body recalls memories of warm corn and fried cassava.

Inside the gallery, eight dreams were displayed through mp3 players in a dimly lit atmosphere, inviting attendees to an intimate listening experience that could nonetheless be shared with others. The eight dreams were the result of the telematic performance that was created in real-time between four Colombians residing in London, and four Colombians residing in Bogotá: linked by diverse migratory experiences on the 2nd of August, 2012.

In the exhibition, the listeners had access to transcriptions of the dreams, which originated in Spanish and were translated into English. Translation is itself a migration of language, extending the links of the universal experience of geographical movement, and of the universe of dreams. Javier, one of the visitors, suggested that ‘ “Migratory Dreams” represents a mental universe of migrants that is not visible in the society that receives them’. Neither is it visible in the society that has been left; in the exhibition there was a chance to hear thoughts and feelings that come from this ‘universe’.

Visitors also were invited to exchange dreams through a dream box. The box provoked interaction between unacquainted people and provided the opportunity to further share the common universes of migration and dreams.

During the event, a bilingual talk was presented to explain the creative and experiential process lived by the performers, and to help realise possible links or ties that are created in a collective dream. The talk described how the performance followed preparatory workshops drawn from Deep Listening philosophy and practices. Visitors were curious about concepts such as ‘dream incubation’, which was beautifully explained by the youngest of the crowd (a 6-year-old boy), who assertively imagined this process as resembling the one that happens between ‘a chicken and the eggs’. ‘Yes, it’s something like that, and with the warmth that is required’, I replied.

Equally, processes of listening mediated by technologies, made him wonder if people are ‘hearing the same sounds’ in each city. The answer this time is not easy. Listening is subjective, and in fact the differences in technical output in each city created distinct experiences. The recorded streaming signal is the common representation for audiences to listen ‘to the same sounds’. Networks and migrations were concepts that provoked other interesting questions from the audience that in turn allowed for expansion: functional, technical, poetic and philosophical references were part of the conversation.

Andrea, another visitor, said to me that this exhibition touched deeply ‘a fibre’ and that this unusual experience will remain with her. In this sense, the event was achieving its purpose: creating resonances and awareness of invisible links we migrants and dreamers share. And it was not only Colombians who joined this party. People from many different geographical locations came to eat, drink, listen, share and to connect, not necessarily driven to understand the slippery nature of dreams, and the transitory essence of migrations, but just to be there. Aha, so was it a party?

Thanks to Futherfield Gallery for the invitation to use their ‘Clear Spots’ experimental space.


Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 18.56.08
Date: Saturday 02 March 2013, 12-4pm
Venue: Furtherfield Gallery

In partnership with CRiSAP – Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice from the University of the Arts London – LCC, Furtherfield Gallery is pleased to present Migratory Dreams – Sueños Migratorios, sound recordings of the improvisatory online performance event using spoken voice and pre-recorded sounds that took place between two Colombian communities in London (UK) and Bogota (CO) in August 2012.

When we migrate, our perception of space expands, as we experience new territories and cultures; sometimes this perception can be diminished if we lack forms of expression to engage fully in the new place. In our dreams, feelings are expressed unconsciously, offering a free and mysterious encounter with spaces we long for, and also with spaces that we have not yet encountered in our waking reality. Dreams become a metaphor and vehicle of our migrations.

The exhibition Migratory Dreams – Sueños Migratorios invites us to listen to eight dreams that were shared in an improvisatory sound performance via the Internet, between Colombians living in London and Colombians living in Bogotá, using spoken voice and pre-recorded sounds. The performance explored the sound space that is created in-between the two locations, as well as the feelings associated with different experiences of migration, and was manifested through Deep Listening practice and dreamwork.

Resonating through voice in an in-between space, being heard on the other side of the world, about feelings left by the experience of re-location or dislocation, opens our sense of being and our multidimensional condition. Perception of location is sometimes as volatile as the sense of reality, and as clear and structured as the dream reality can be.

Further information on:

Exhibition at Furtherfield Gallery

Escucha otra vez: Sueños Migratorios/ Listen again: Migratory Dreams

(English and credits/créditos below)

En la noche de Londres, en Resonance FM, y en la tarde de Bogotá-Colombia, en Plataforma Bogotá el 3 de agosto, se reunieron dos grupos de soñadores para tejer un sueño colectivo, con sus voces y otros sonidos, a través de Internet. Sueño, del que se sueña cuando se duerme, de manera inconsciente y libre, que se teje con el sueño-deseo consciente. Los dos se entrelazan en el contexto de la migración. La migración del que se va del país y llega a Londres, y continúa allí. También la migración del que salió y volvió. Del que nació en Colombia con padres extranjeros, y del que migra a través de los sueños y de la tecnología. Todas estas vivencias se encuentran en un contexto de país, que se quiere, se extraña, del cual se huye y que se afirma como raíz. En un mundo globalizado y localizado, la realidad despierta y la realidad del sueño se confunden. Los participantes aportan con sus diversas experiencias y formas de narrar, únicas para cada uno, el intento por escuchar y escucharse, sin conocerse, en el caso de los grupos distantes. Esto hace parte de la Escucha Profunda (Deep Listening); estar allí, con el otro, estar en el sueño, estar donde se quiere estar. A veces ni aquí, ni allá, pero en ese lugar intermedio. El uso de la voz, de las palabras y acentos (con tanto significado para un colombiano, y con tanta abstracción para un extranjero) y de los sonidos abstractos, con múltiples narrativas, todas libres. De manera inconsciente el tejido sonoro se marca por sutiles voces que dicen “otra vez”, extrayendo lo que es común, el tema recurrente, que en la distancia puede sorprender a los mismos participantes. Internet, el software TubePlug, el patch hecho en Max, y la transmisión de radio en directo, son artefactos que contribuyen a crear ese “Internet Auditorium“. La distinción entre los dos espacios se marca en las voces y forma expresiva de los participantes, influidas por el contexto geográfico donde se encuentran, y el medio acústico. En Londres ese fue uno de los días más calientes de este corto verano; en Bogotá llovía… El feedback y la desconexión hacen parte de la poética sonora de este performance telemático. La espontaneidad del performance improvisado, se combina con momentos de increíble fluidez. La audiencia es distante, inclusive cuando en el caso de Plataforma Bogotá, algunos oyentes se congregaron en una sala especialmente adaptada para la escucha. La naturaleza de los sueños es profundamente migratoria. Los invito a escuchar estos sueños, modos de escucha y expresión, de manera profunda y libre.

English and credits/créditos

On the 3rd of August, in the night at Resonance FM in London, and in the afternoon at Plataforma Bogotá, in Bogotá-Colombia, two groups of dreamers met to weave a collective dream, with their voices and other sounds, through the Internet. A dream, the one that comes when they sleep, unconscious and free, that is woven with the conscious dream-desire. Both are woven in the context of migration. The migration of whom leaves the country and arrives in London, and remains there. Also the migration of whom left the country and came back, the one of whom was born in Colombia from foreign parents, and the one who migrates through dreams and technology. In a globalised and localized world, the waking reality and the dream reality overlap. Participants contribute with diverse experiences and narrative forms, unique, the intention of listening to others and to themselves, without knowing each other, in the case of the distant groups. This is part of Deep Listening; to be there, with the other, to be in the dream, to be when one wishes to be. Sometimes feeling neither here or there but in an in-between space. The use of the voice, words, accents (with lots of meaning for a Colombian, and full of abstraction for a non-Colombian) and of abstract sounds, multiple narratives, all free. In an unconscious manner, the sound thread is marked by subtle “otra vez” (meaning “again”), which extracts what is common, the recurrent theme, which in the distance might surprise participants themselves. Internet, the software TubePlug, the patch created in Max, and the radio broadcast, are artefacts that contribute to create this Internet Auditorium. The distinction between the two locations (London and Bogotá) is marked by their voices and expressive manner influenced by the context where they are, and the acoustic space. In London it was one of the warmest days of a short summer, in Bogotá it was raining… The feedback and the disconnection are part of the sound poetry of this telematic performance. The spontaneity of the improvisation is combined with moments of incredible fluidity. Audiences are distant, even though in the case of Plataforma Bogotá, there was an audience in a listening room specially prepared for that. Nature of dreams is profoundly migratory. I am inviting you to listen to these dreams again, people’s listening and expression modes, in a deep and free manner.

Dreamers and performers London/ Soñadores y performers Londres: Amaru, Nelly, Sebastián, Steve Cárdenas Mosquera
Dreamers and performers Bogotá/ Soñadores y performers en Bogotá: Diana María Restrepo, Joela, Sandra Miranda Pattin, Tzitzi Barrantes
Programmer Max Interface/ Programador Max Interface: Emmett Glynn
Venues: Resonance FM (London), Plataforma Bogotá (Bogotá)
Streaming software: TubePlug
Collaborators: Deep Listening Institute (Kingston-NY), Plataforma Bogotá (Colombia), Resonance FM (London)

This is a project by Ximena Alarcón from CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice)/London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

Sueños Migratorios – Performance Telemático, Londres-Bogotá Agosto. 3

Sueños Migratorios es una exploración sonora en el mundo de los sueños, hecha por un grupo de colombianos que han migrado a Londres, y un grupo de colombianos que viven en Bogotá, quienes han migrado a través de los sueños, familias, amigos y tecnología a otros espacios, y también algunos quienes han migrado geográficamente y han regresado a su país.

Los soñadores han explorado los espacios donde suceden sus sueños y los sentimientos relacionados con sus migraciones. Ellos han seguido un proceso a través de la práctica de la Escucha Profunda, viajando en tiempo y espacio a través de la escucha y han explorado la experiencia sonora en sus sueños. Al compartir sus sueños ellos los han amplificado en la realidad despierta con la ayuda de los otros soñadores, escuchando y expresándose sonoramente, y han tejido un sueño colectivo en cada ciudad. En el performance a través de Internet, Colombianos desde las dos ciudades, se encontrarán para tejer , otro sueño, trascendiendo aún más los lugares geográficos donde los soñadores se encuentran, y donde sus sueños suceden.

Dónde podrían llevarte estos sueños?

Escúchalos en vivo en Resonance 104.4FM el 3 de Agosto a las 8:00pm (hora Londres) y a las 2:00pm (hora Bogotá).

Soñadores y performers en Londres: Amaru, Nelly, Sebastián, Steve Cárdenas Mosquera
Soñadores y performers en Bogotá: Diana María Restrepo, Joela, Sandra Miranda Pattin, Tzitzi Barrantes
Programador Interface: Emmett Glynn

Performance apoyado por:
CRiSAP – Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice, LCC University of the Arts London, en colaboración con Plataforma Bogotá, Deep Listening Institute y Resonance FM.

Migratory Dreams – Telematic Sonic Performance London – Bogotá Aug. 3rd

Migratory Dreams is a sonic exploration of dreams made by a group of Colombians who have migrated to London, and a group of Colombians residing in Bogotá who have migrated through dreams, families, friends, and technology to many other spaces, and some of whom have migrated geographically and returned to their country.

Dreamers have looked at the spaces where their dreams take place and the feelings associated with these in relation to their migrations. They have engaged in Deep Listening exercises, traveling in time and space through listening, and explored their sonic experience in dreams. When sharing their dreams they have amplified them in the waking reality with the help of the other dreamers, by listening and sounding, and have woven a collective dream in each city. In the Internet-based performance, Colombians from these distant locations will meet to weave, in real-time, another dream, transcending even more the geographical spaces where the dreamers are, and where their dreams take place.

Where might Colombians’ dreams take you?

Live on Resonance 104.4 FM on the 3rd of August, 2012 at 8:00pm (London time) 2:00pm (Bogotá time)

Performers Dreamers in London: Amaru, Nelly, Sebastián, Steve Cárdenas Mosquera
Performers Dreamers in Bogotá: Diana María Restrepo, Joela, Sandra Miranda Pattin, Tzitzi Barrantes
Programmer Interface: Emmett Glynn

Performance supported by:
CRiSAP – Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice, LCC University of the Arts London, in collaboration with Plataforma Bogotá, Deep Listening Institute and Resonance FM.

Lanzamiento convocatoria Bogotá – Call Bogotá

(English below)
Se lanzó la convocatoria pública para participantes en Bogotá en el performance Sueños Migratorios a través de Plataforma Bogotá. Los talleres en Bogotá se realizarán el Martes 24, Miércoles 25, Viernes 27 y Martes 31 de julio de 10:00am a 1:00pm.
El performance: 3 de agosto de 2:00pm a 4:00pm.

Tuvimos ayer nuestra segunda prueba de conexión entre Resonance FM y Plataforma Bogotá, usando el software TubePlug. Tuvimos algunos problemas de conexión que esperamos resolver pronto. Escogimos espacios para el performance en Bogotá, como la Sala de Muestras (abajo), y el Laboratorio, como espacio de escucha. La próxima semana empezaremos los talleres con los participantes inscritos en Londres y la siguiente en Bogotá!

Gracias a todo el equipo que está colaborando en hacer este performance posible!

The public call was launched yesterday for the Migratory Dreams performance from Plataforma Bogotá. In Bogotá workshops will be in July Tuesday 24, Wednesday 25, Friday 27 and Tuesday 31, 10:00am – 1:00pm.
Performance: August 3, 2:00pm – 4:00pm.

We had our second technical test between Resonance FM and Plataforma Bogotá. We had some network problems that we hope to solve soon. We chose Sala de Muestras for the performance (see image above) and also the Laboratorio as listening space. We look forward to start next week the workshops with participants who booked a place in London and in Bogotá the week after!

Thanks to the team that is working to make possible this performance!