Archives for February2012

Soundwalks/ Soundscapes Opportunities for AAA 2012

As part of the curatorial collective of Ethnographic Terminalia, Stephanie Takaragawa Craig Campbell are taking lead curation roles, focusing the exhibition around sound.  The hope is to have multiple sites of engagement for the audience because in part, these exhibitions are also intended to get the anthropologists OUT of the convention hotels and into the cities.  One of the constellation projects they are interested in doing for San Francisco would be to organize site-specific QR Tags  and geocaching, which would provide unique opportunities for engagement with and experience of sound projects by anthropologists.  They are interested in partnering with the Music and Sound Interest group to create sound walks or soundscapes for the AAA 2012 meeting.

Please see the current working draft of their statement for this year below. Please contact Dr. Carla Montero if you are interested in participating –
Audible Observatories

Ethnographic Terminalia :: 2012 :: San Francisco

Ethnographic Terminalia is a curatorial collective dedicated to exploring the borderlands between contemporary art and academic research. For three years Ethnographic Terminalia has mounted travelling exhibitions (from Philadelphia, to New Orleans, and most recently Montréal).  We are now preparing an exhibition for the Pacific Coast at the end of 2012 in San Francisco.  This  exhibition is titled Audible Observatories.

The curators for Audible Observatories make a playful connection between research-based art and place-bound exhibition in order to animate a curatorial vision that foregrounds audio-centric art works within a broader rubric of site-specificity. We conceptualize the audible observatory as either a mobile or a stationary site of perception which is sensible to others just as it is a place from which sensing the world happens.  The relationship between listening and being heard is central to the audible observatory; it is meant to be a relentlessly self-reflexive site of communicaiton that makes location-specificity a central aspect in its aesthetic.

Audible observatories are points of sensory convergence.  They are nodes where worlds perceived through the senses intersect and begin the labour of transforming independent events into knowable and meaningful claims.  They speak and they are spoken to.  Audible Observatories as an exhibition brings together works that draw attention to both the situation and the agency of the observer.

Humans as audible observatories are understood as relational beings: both observing and creating the world (where observation is tied to creation and creation is tied to observation; they are two sides of the same coin).  Audible Observatories are things that both hear and can be heard.  They sense the world and are sensed by it.

The model observatory in 19th century science was invisible and inaudible.  A new model was proposed in the 20th century.  One where the labours of hiding the observatory are exchanged for a more self-reflexive and critical position.  If old observatories produced knowledge through non-interventionist observation we propose a new model observatory that is mobile, self-aware, and a little bit nervous.

Audible Observatories is currently searching for a single gallery or pop-up gallery space to act as a hub for our operations.    The location would ideally be within walking distance of Union Square but not farther than two or three miles.   The principle behind ET is to host a small constellation of exhibitions and events parasitical to the meetings of the American Anthropological Association.  The logic of this format is to interface between the professional meetings (which will bring upwards of five thousand visitors to San Francisco) and local art, community, and museum scenes.  Outside of the main gallery-hub, Audible Observatories
will remediate the cityscape by mapping a virtual exhibition over-top of the city itself.  Through site-specific installations, mobile galleries, QR tags, and Geocaches, we will draw the exhibition both out of the gallery and off of the internet in a unique constellation of events that resolutely places this show in San Francisco.

We are currently working with sound artist John Wynne ( and Steve Feld ( as our ‘anchor artists.’  In March 2012 we will put out a call for submissions from artist-researchers, anthropologists, and collaborative teams to exhibit their works as part of Audible Observatories.