The theme of the alterity of non-European or the Anglospheric sonic arts, in the context of the para-musical discourses built in the West over the last decades, is currently the subject of reflection by artists, curators and scholars who are inspired by a Postcolonial or decolonial approach. They introduced – through their artistic practices or theoretical reflections – a series of questions related to the application of the “sound art” category to works that arise in non-European and non-North American contexts.
This article deals with a reflection around a possible reorientation towards South of the sound practices related to art, as a way of political, ecological, cultural reconfiguration of the knowledge paradigms and discourses related with the tradition of sound studies. It focuses specifically on a couple of works developed by Latin American artists: an installation and recording project developed in 2012 by Fernando Godoy in Chile’s Atacama desert; and “2487”, a sonic and web installation by Luz María Sanchez that deals with the practice of violence in the borderland area between the US and Mexico. The analysis of these case studies entails a critical engagement with notions such as “new” geographies, borders, the practice of mapping, the materiality of sound, as well as a proposal for a possible approach to the sound of the South.
By reorienting sonic arts toward South, building temporary connections and opening aesthetic spaces of interaction between diverse territories and geographies we can deal with narrations that raise different questions: is it possible to reformulate a “meridian thought”, which can be expressed through an independent voice? Is it feasible to think about a self-representation process framed in a complexity of “overlapping territories and intertwined histories” from which a multidimensional and hybridized South can emerge?
In its resonances and its dissonances, this critical approach opens the door to a re-orientation of the practice of listening that, through an aesthetic approach that becomes a political one, provides another possible access to the complex experience of crossing territories and inhabiting spaces and places in the contemporary era.
Bogotá: Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito,