“Following My Microphone” – Artist Christopher DeLaurenti on the Joy of Sound

Christopher DeLaurenti

Through February 18, 2017, the Power Plant Gallery presents Soundings: Protest|Politics|Dissenta broadcast audio exhibition exploring how artists navigate the depths of sound experience and embody protest, politics, and dissent in digital sound files. A special lunchtime talk will be held on February 2 as part of an ongoing series of panel discussions about art and activism cosponsored by Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics. The panel discussion, entitled “FSP@PPG: Hostile Sounds,” will feature Christopher DeLaurenti, a sound artist who is also featured in the Soundings exhibition. Below, Power Plant Gallery Director Caitlin Kelly recounts DeLaurenti’s enlivening experiences collecting audio.

Following My Microphone

Christopher DeLaurenti follows his microphone. It has lead him into unusual confluences of sound, silence, music, and speech. Most recently he followed it to the Presidential Inauguration and the subsequent Women’s March on Washington. “While recording, I felt every emotion I have ever had,” DeLaurenti explains. Microphone in hand, DeLaurenti trolled the environment before, during and after the Inauguration recording the interstitial soundscape of chants, yells, music and the typical urban sounds of passing cars and conversation.

Back in the streets the following day, DeLaurenti describes The Women’s March on Washington as a massive wall of sound with chants surging and echoing. “I heard a raft of inspiring chants and verbal volleys,” DeLaurenti says, “such as ‘Not my President!’ as well as women declaring ‘My body my choice!’ in tandem with men responding ‘her body, her choice!’ What remains is joy—joy that I heard so much, joy that I instinctively ran towards things to hear while others ran the opposite direction.”

“To borrow a phrase from R. Murray Schafer, this ‘soniferous garden’ of voices reminded me that sound not only consolidates us as people, but also proposes utopian possibilities.”

 

DeLaurenti, along with Tina Haver Currin, Jess Dilday, and Rodrigo Dorfmnn, will be part of a panel discussion on arts activism and sound, called, “FSP@PPG: Hostile Sounds” on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 12–1:15 p.m. This is the third installment of the arts and activism panel discussions with the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Power Plant Gallery. A light lunch will be served. The Power Plant Gallery is a joint initiative of Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies and MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program.

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