(c) Works: 'Notes on an ethnography before arrival | Sounds Public' by Naoki Matsuyama, 2019; Photo: Maria Bacila

Notes on an ethnography before arrival | Sounds Public

Part of the Collective Exhibition Laundry Services – Open House

Notes on an ethnography before arrival


The local brass band summons soldiers who died in WW2 in an underwater ritual to combat the "White Plague". The forest is turned into cardboard boxes to pack relics of the communist past, which in turn form a highway constructed under strict adherence to EU standards. Luka Modric plays football in the woods with a wolf and a local deity... These are entirely prejudiced speculations about Fužine, Croatia, the site of our upcoming ethnographic research, based on an information sheet we were given in the introductory session. It is a visual exercise to imagine possible worlds before arrival, which will surely alter as I come into actual contact with the people, things, and the environment. As such, it also serves as a record that will allow for self-reflexive analysis later on.



Sounds Public

Sound Installation

Public sounds are unruly. They easily breach otherwise stable boundaries, such as those between private and public spaces, exerting significant influence on people's behavior, just like church bells used to in pre-modern times. Based on a research on public loudspeakers in Japan, this sound installation intermittently produces the same sounds emitted by those loudspeakers, from earthquake alerts to the nostalgic music that is played everyday at five o'clock. The sounds temporarily transform the existing spaces, bringing to light the role played by sonic infrastructure in our daily lives. At the same time, it also brings attention to public sounds as ontological achievements. For example, a disaster warning sound in Japan may not be perceived as such in Austria. For a sound to perform as a sound of warning, there needs to be an alignment of technological and organizational dynamics to produce that sound, but crucially, also an alignment of trained perception to regard the sounds as warnings.

Fact Box

Notes on an ethnography before arrival | Sounds Public
October 23, 2019