Place as Potential: Queer futurity in the recorded landscape

Hali Santamas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


When thinking about the natural environment in the Anthropocene it can be hard to see beyond the present as we constantly try to defend that which remains. Some days it is hard to feel anything but despair. Informed by my experience of being queer in a straight society and José Muñoz’s concept of queer futurity, I will argue that a psychedelic audiovisual art practice derived from sound- scape composition and shaped by queerness can offer a glimpse into a concrete utopian future and beyond a seemingly inevitable climate collapse. This glimpse of a positive future driven by memory, emotion and desire can be experienced through the psychedelic performance and evocation of place. Beginning with an analysis of the sonic art of Hildegard Westerkamp and Phil Elverum I will explore two existing approaches to the representation of place through sound. Using examples from my creative practice I will demonstrate how abstraction, contradiction, and failure can come together to create a distinct affective, psychedelic future-facing experience, rooted in lived reality. I will show how these techniques can be deployed to transform field recordings and photographs of space into atmospheric evocations and performances of a possible future place. These transcendent spaces have the potential to reorient people toward an active, optimistic futurity and away from extractive, capital driven thinking through psychedelic experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalAcoustic Ecology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2023
Event30th International Conference of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology: Listening Pasts - Listening Futures - Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, United States
Duration: 23 Mar 202326 Mar 2023
Conference number: 30
  • Ephemeral Futures

    Santamas, H., 28 Jan 2024

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

    Open Access

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