Networked Migrations:
Listening to and performing the in-between space

Ximena Alarcón

Research Fellow Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice - CRiSAP.

Keywords: participatory, online, Deep Listening, sonic-improvisation, in-between, migration

Video 1: Pre-performance workshops Letters and Bridges.
[video — runtime: 1:31]
Video 2: Excerpt from 'Un petit môt'.
[video — runtime: 0:26]

Two internet-based sonic performances, Letters and Bridges (between Leicester and Mexico City), and Migratory Dreams (between London and Bogotá), were developed by the artist with the leading question of what the 'in-between' space (Bhaba 1994; Ortega 2008) sounds like in the context of migration. Drawing on a Deep Listening (Oliveros 2005) practice, the artist undertook pre-performance workshops as a way to engage participants in the possibilities of travelling in time and space, and expressing through voice and other sounds feelings that arise when they migrate. The sharing of these sounds through the Internet in real time opened the idea of territory and allowed participants to express feelings towards place, identity and belonging, and to create mixed-reality narratives, within a supportive sound space free from geographical and cultural constraints. High quality bi-directional streaming audio software such as SoundJack and Tube Plug were used, adapted to the performance needs. This paper describes the process of the creation of each performance, considering its sonic, narrative, mediatised and performative aspects, offering a reflection on new auditoriums created for migrants' expression of their experiences in the 'in-between'. It argues that this specific approach helps migrants to expand their sense of space and develop an awareness of their multidimensional condition through sound.

Video 3: Excerpt from 'Tragando Polvo'.
[video — runtime: 0:39]
Video 4: Excerpt from Active Audience.
[video — runtime: 1:07]
Video 5: Listening spaces and excerpts from the eight dreams.
[video — runtime: 2:21]
  1. Audio 1:

    Excerpt from ‘The sleepless horse of dreams – The Avenue’.
    [mp3 — runtime: 1:07]

  2. Audio 2:

    Excerpt from ‘Essences’.
    [mp3 — runtime: 2:21]

» download essay [pdf]

Ximena Alarcón is a new media artist who focuses on listening to social context related sound, connecting it to individual and collective memories. Her practice involves ethnography, deep listening practice, and sonic improvisation, and her tools include networking technologies and multimedia interfaces. Since October 2011, she works in Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice - CRiSAP, at the University of the Arts London, as a Research Fellow, developing her project "Networked Migrations - listening to and performing the in-between space".

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