The Field as Actant: Performing-With Multiple Entities in Recording Sounding the Weight of an Object

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This article proposes that the field is an active and performing agent that co-produces alongside the subjective experience of a recording artist. As the field is necessarily immersive, documenting it requires the recordist to acknowledge that their experience is only one possibility of many. As such, contributing an interventionist performance articulates their subjective experience of the field. In performing, however, the recordist is also influenced by the agentic causal capacities of the field, resulting in their being highly entangled within it. The idea that material performs is developed from new materialism, object-oriented ontology, and performance scholarship. Material is considered vibrant, intra-relational, and storied. Following from this, a field can be understood as performing via its placeness, spatiality, and the entities in it. Such a multi-entity performance of the field and recording artist can be political, meaning that ethical ways for making-with non-humans should be considered. Three examples from my album Sounding the Weight of an Object are presented to provide insight into an approach to field recording that is co-dependent, intra-relational, and multilateral. Rather than attempting to master the environment or remain exterior to it, I acted reciprocally with it. This approach was posthumanist, in that bleed between my actions and the location’s agency occurred. It accounted for the field as an actant and acknowledged me as embedded and entangled within each site.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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