Sound maps come out of “expanded techniques” of field recording. By this I mean that they are made from field recordings, and that the method of field recording is performative (akin to dance). Movement becomes a way of relating with a place through listening as primary mode of engagement. While moving with amplified hearing, I am able to listen to what I am recording in real time as I engage in it, tracing a line in time in a process akin to drawing on a page. These lines are then edited together with minimal interventions, minding the process of recording the sounds as themselves constitutive of the very places that are to be reproduced. The composition of lines becomes the map. As my work connects movement, voice, sound, territory, land, and water; I am engaged in the potential of sonic cartography as a collaborative methodology of poetic and environmental justice.
Even when sound maps are structurally similar to soundscapes (paisajes sonoros), I distance myself from the “soundscape composition” with a particular cartographic purpose. These works refuse the extractivism embedded all over the tradition of soundscape composition, in which too often recordings are treated as raw materials for the elaboration of a beautiful form. In consequence, places get abstracted from, and they lose their sense of territory. The sound maps have a cartographic ambition in that they aim to convey a sense of place with a sense of fidelity to the territory where the lines were recorded. Yet they are also counter-cartographic in that they refuse a scientific representation of a place in favor of a commitment with the performative nature of the event of recording. Traditionally, soundscape aesthetic tends to divide human and environment by considering any trace of a human body and, by extension, the body of the recorder, as a “mistake.” In these sound maps, I embrace gesticulations, breathing, wind and body contact with the microphone, words, and signing as gestures of positioning, which are also constitutive of the makings of the sense of place that the map conveys. In the editing process, I use no effects or panning and cuts are kept to a minimum. Overlaps are used to move from one line to another, and levels are used to present two or more lines simultaneously. Additionally, levels are modulated as a way of caring for the listener, avoiding moments that could potentially cause pain in their eardrums or damage their hearing.