Listening to Big Sur: An Interspecies Song
Anthropologists and scholars in allied fields have critically examined the settler-colonial logics that position humans as separate from or inherently damaging to nature, thus catalyzing a widespread scholarly interest in reevaluating how humans are entwined with plants, animals, waters, and more. In this project, we sonically explore these alternative relational understandings through the electronic manipulation of field recordings gathered in Big Sur, California – a transitional space with a dense history of shifting interspecies relations and mutable landscapes. By transforming our field recordings into a song-like composition, we attune to the sounds transmitted between our bodies and those of soils, birds, oceans, and streams, and to the interstitial spaces that facilitate these exchanges. Through the manipulation of these co-produced sounds, this composition becomes an experiment in musically narrating our ethnographic engagement with this land in its present form as enabled through its history of dispossession and subsequent touristification.
This project is part of a larger collaboration that includes Elizabeth Wong, Julia Meaney, Tasha Ramesh, and Silas Simon.