Sensory studies arises at the conjuncture (and within) the fields of anthropology • sociology • history • archeology • geography • communications • religion • philosophy • literature • art history • museology • film • mixed media • performance • phenomenology • disability • aesthetics • architecture • urbanism • design

Sensory Studies can also be divided along sensory lines into, for example, visual culture, auditory culture (or sound studies), smell culture, taste culture and the culture of touch, not to mention the sixth sense (however it might be defined)

Buzzing

This recording is part of a project entitled Buzzing: between mosquitoes and zancudos [1], a media anthropology project that tried to interpret the symbolic construction of mosquitoes through the sounds they make and the way that they are heard by people who live with these insects in their everyday lives. It used the Internet as a vehicle to explore and communicate this acoustic world.

In the context of tropical diseases, the sound of the mosquito generates a multi-layered, dawn to dusk sonic contour that can help us to understand the popular fears and imaginings of this insect. This project aimed to investigate how these ideas are formed through the sense perceptions of mosquito sounds. I made an open call on the Internet using the domain http://alejandrovalenciat.com/ and social networks, where I set up these questions: which is the first idea that comes to your mind when you heard the word “mosquito”/”zancudo”? and how does the mosquito sound to you?

In this call respondents were able to make their own sounds in echoic mimicry of the sound of the mosquito. I neither specified the kind of responses I was waiting for nor the kind of media/equipment that the participants were able to use. Most of the participants used the in-built microphones on their computers, their cell phones or some cheap recorders.

By selecting from among the different audio recordings that the participants sent me, I have tried to re-create an audio-acoustic experience by designing a mosquito soundscape. The main expression that participants used to articulate this experience and their recordings in corresponding with me is buzzing, an idea that is related with the disturbance of everyday life and in particular with sleeplessness but also acts as a “diabolic” icon of the tropical region.

iii. Listening -suggestions of how to listen and what to listen for in recording (100-150 words).

There were 22 recordings sent to me during this exercise and in selecting this recording it was my intention to communicate a bodily sensation of the listener who made the recording and of their aural experience of the mosquito. I paid special attention to the pitching and intensity of sound in the editing process so as to re-create the sense of the nerve jangling immediacy and frustrating persistence of the insect. As a consequence, the recordings should ideally be listened to with headphones in order to re-create this diabolic sense of the mosquito soundscape.

v. Bibliography / Phonography – related works (100-150 words).

1) Media project: Buzzing: between mosquitoes and zancudos
“Buzzing” is the main recording in a CD with 11 tracks. The complete audio-visual work can be accessed through this link: http://www.alejandrovalenciat.com/alejandrovt/zumbidos.html

2) Sound installation: How to speak about health without words This installation was part of the conference Health in translation: The art of communicating. 5th Latin-American and 4th Inter-American Health Promotion and Health Education Conference. 10th to 13th April 2012. Mexico City, Mexico. 2012
http://soundcloud.com/alejandrovalenciat/how-to-speak-about-health
http://issuu.com/alejandrovalenciat/docs/the_art_of_communicating

3) We born, we grow up, we infect you
Installation: Audio + photography
Departmental Room of Visual Arts, Medellín-Colombia
0‘44’’ ; (50×50)cm  
2011
http://alejandrovalenciat.com/alejandrovt/salondeartesvisuales_ing_2011.html

4) Lutzomyia: Big-format sculpture
Intervention, Medellín-Colombia
Video 5’17’’ 
2011.
http://t.co/kxgW7D3

5) A Couple of Wings in Mind: fragments of a story in the air.
Intervention, Medellín-Colombia
Video 6’55’’
2011.
http://t.co/2he8A0RY

6) Movements
Video 1’33’’
2010.
Lakino Film Festival, Berlin-Germany / La Plata Audiovisual Art Festival, La Plata-Argentina / Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, D.C.-US
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGaQLamA8Vc&list=UU8cXuVQPg_SENcg1AAL3mQg&index=1&feature=plcp

 7) Leishmaniasis and Society
2009
http://leishmaniosisysociedad.blogspot.com/
http://leishmaniosisysociedad.blogspot.com/2010/03/english-version.html

Additionally, in Soundcloud you can check for related works:
http://soundcloud.com/alejandrovalenciat

vi. Biography of recordist (100-150 words). 

- Biologist (Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín-Colombia)
- MA Visual Anthropology with Sensory Media student (The University of Manchester, Manchester-UK)

I am a biologist with experience in medical entomology, audio-visual arts and ethnographic research, developing projects with tropical diseases. I have a strong interest on interdisciplinary approaches combining visual, sensorial and urban anthropology, public health, and medical entomology through aesthetic media. I work with scientific and non-academic communities by using the study of social representations and the symbolic analysis of tropical diseases.

I am currently enrolled on the MA in Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester, with the supervision of Dr. Rupert Cox.

Website: http://alejandrovalenciat.com/
e-mail: alejandro@alejandrovalenciat.com

 

 



[1] Zancudo is a popular way in Colombia for naming mosquitoes.