SoundStage 23

Testing testing 1 -2 1- 2 check check. More mic in the monitors please!

Hello and welcome to SoundStage. Over the week, every day, we’ll be here introducing soundstronauts, noise makers, musicians and sonic experimenters for all your aural pleasures.

First up the sweet sounds of Antwerp and Desert Kites; the latter accompanied with a visual delight for your eyes. Sit back, relax and open your ears… 

Antwerp – Kaons

Listen on Bandcamp

I often consider my music as audio-archeology: I want to push your ear-boundaries to listen to music from countries with an incredible history and culture. Music unites people. We all just look at the same sky. My world is everybody’s world and my music reflects this. Instagram: nicoantwerp

Desert Kites – Trace (Instrumental Remix) – Video by Zoë Crossland

Traces, signs, formations. Produced by the world around us and by the universe at large; acted on and remade by generations of people. These are the archives that archaeologists and others work with and within. Images through a microscope; pollen grains drifting through the scopic field; moments of focus and loss moving in and out of view.

Zoe Crossland is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Archaeology, at Columbia University, New York, USA. Desert Kites is a musician based in New York City.

Credits, Thanks + Shoutouts

festivalCHAT was brought to you by the CHAT Standing committee:

Dan Lee (Festival working group lead, website design)

Hilary Orange (Chair, Festival working group, web content editor)

Miriam Rothenberg (Festival working group)

Þóra Pétursdóttir (Festival working group)

Rebecca L. Hearne (Festival working group)

Jaime Almansa-Sánchez

Emma Dwyer

Rachael Kiddey

Nota Pantzou

Carolyn L. White

Jobbe Wijnen

Bill Caraher

Thanks to: Katy Whitaker (festival map), Sponsors (Archaeopress, SPMA)

Shout outs: All of the festivalCHAT contributors!

“I painted him as a monument”: Public Art as Protest in Detroit

Kaeleigh Herstad (US)

This photo essay documents and explores recent public art in made in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in Detroit, Michigan. These works of art—which range from informal yard signs to large-scale installations and commissioned works—connect Detroit to national discourse around police brutality by memorializing and honoring Black Detroiters killed by police alongside other, more recent victims of police violence elsewhere in the United States. They are often in conversation with other memorials in the city, and they express collective grief, anger, support, exhaustion, and hope and encouragement for the future.

This essay will examine how these recent public works of art engage with Detroit’s legacy of racism and police brutality against Black residents. What does it mean to, as one artist put it, paint someone not as a person, but as a monument? And finally, how do these issues relate to and intersect with other ongoing forms of violence against Black residents, such as the disinvestment in and wide-scale demolition of Black neighborhoods and gentrification?

Click here to read the photo essay

Attending to Absence

Sarah Bell (US)

To dwell in the world during the Coronavirus pandemic is to witness the collision of theory with experience.  As we live through this unique historical moment, experiencing isolation, emptiness and absence in almost unprecedented ways, it is worth reflecting on the manner in which our bodies respond to a world drained of physical presence.  I argue that an awareness of absence—and thus, conversely, of presence—should be considered as one amongst the almost infinite number of senses with which we are endowed. This sense should be understood as a physical and an emotional sensitivity not only to the absence of human presence, but also to the absence of things—a condition that is made appreciable through the complex relationship that exists between part and whole, non-place and place, here and gone.  As is evident in so many instances, it is in the interstitial “spaces between” these categories that both meaning and material accumulate.   Taking the remains of the abandoned Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warwick, Rhode Island as a case study, this presentation explores the ways in which the material environment at the park has been altered by visitors to reflect an awareness of absence through mark-making and graffiti.  

pubCHAT Americas

McSorley’s Old Ale House, Manhattan. By Leonard J. DeFrancisci, CC BY-SA 3.0

Miriam Rothenberg and Carolyn White are hosting PubCHAT on 23 October 19:00 EDT (midnight BST)

Join these social events organised by the CHAT Standing Committee and link up with people in the Americas.

Come CHAT with us! PubCHATs are designed to be an informal way to meet other contemporary and historical archaeologists and to talk about life, research, and interests! There is no formal programme, so just show up with your favorite evening beverage or meal and be prepared to socialise. This PubCHAT is timed to be accessible for those located in the Americas, but everybody is welcome! This is part of a series of three events being held in association with the Festival in different timezones (including Europe/Africa).

We will send out the Zoom link via the CHAT JiscMail ( a few days before the event. You can sign up to join this mailing list HERE by clicking the ‘subscribe’ button.

Note: There is no official language for pubCHATs and while it is likely that many of those who come along speak English, we welcome speakers of all languages.

Dirty Laundry

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid (US)

Blue Bird Sessions on Thursday 29 October 10:30 EDT (14:30 GMT) @KryderReid

Note: this event will take place on Twitter

For more than a hundred year history years, businesses have used chemical solvents to clean textiles. This photo-essay, shared via 15 threaded Tweets, explores the intersections of laundry labor, racialized bodies, and the environmental harm that decades of use of perchloroethylene (Perc) and other solvents have created across urban and suburban landscapes. The photo-essay focuses particularly on the social and environmental history of dry cleaning in Indianapolis. It pairs images drawn from newspaper advertising, industry promotional materials, photographic archives, and contemporary site documentation with discourse from similarly diverse sources to reveal the complex relationships between clothing, its care, and the ideologies of race, class, and gender. It also locates that history in Indianapolis’ historical and contemporary landscape. The investigation speaks to the broader concern with toxic heritage as a central legacy of the Anthropocene and as an opportunity for activist scholarship that helps frame positive solutions for a more just future. 




Retreat: Mapping University Student Landscapes During COVID

Image © Dana Dobbins. Posted with kind permission.

Paul R. Mullins, Dana Dobbins, Shauna Keith, Abigail Ellenburg, Alisha Beard & Cory Beeles (US)

Blue Bird Sessions on Thursday 29 October 10:00 EDT (14:00 GMT) @mullins_paul

Note: this event will take place on Twitter

This Twitter thread examines a series of University students’ maps of the COVID landscape. We focus on mechanisms of retreat in quarantine and the ways students are creating new forms of social place. The students’ maps illuminate the experience of online education and new forms of digital and spatial socializing that negotiate isolation and anxiety while fabricating new forms of place.


Blood, sweat, and tears: Field notebooks as art objects

Alex Claman (US)

Blue Bird Sessions Thursday 29 October 08:00 CDT (13:00 GMT) @aclaman_archaeo

Note: this event will take place on Twitter

This photo-essay-via-Twitter-thread considers field survey notebooks and hand drawn survey unit images from the Sinis Archaeological Project in Sardinia as art/art objects. Archaeological survey data, the finds and find counts themselves, are collected in and from the fields represented by the sketches and then stored in the notebooks before being transferred to a more official and permanent repository, whether as graphite/ink on paper or bits on a disk. The field sketches may be referenced during the process of working on the project’s GIS, but by and large they exist primarily as last-ditch backups and failsafes; they are created but then languish, unused and potentially forgotten in attics, basements, or storage. 

These notebooks are by their nature art objects (as opposed to archive objects), composites preserving not only the imprints of pencil and pen but also (potentially) dirt, sweat, sunscreen, blood, and plant matter. The hand-drawn maps showcase a wide variety of artistic skill, and the variations provide an intriguing window onto understandings of spatial relationships and individual artists’ informational priorities. The notebooks, while broadly consistent in terms of categorization and physical size, demonstrate a wide range of organizational and use strategies, with project members prioritizing compactness, thoroughness, whimsy, or some combination thereof. 

Such creations are integral to the quasi-nomadic process of archaeological fieldwork; they are collections of preserved artistic fragments, creative engagements with fields and find counts.


Pandemic Perception: Navigating Materiality and Altered Landscapes During COVID-19

Stacey Camp (US), Dante Angelo (Chile), M. Lou Brown (US) & Kelly Britt (US)

Blue Bird Sessions on Wednesday 28 October 09:30 EDT (13:30 GMT) @covidart4

Note: this event will take place on Twitter

This Twitter thread is devoted to our collaborative work on how COVID-19 has altered the ways we encounter our material world. We will take attendees on an audio and visual tour of materiality and alterations to landscapes documented in the project collaborators’ communities and home countries across the United States and Chile. To interpret this data, we draw upon theoretical frameworks in the fields of collective memory, trauma studies, and psychogeography. The data include yard signs, chalk art, flyers, and other forms of artwork as well as public signage and material changes in how people navigate their communities (e.g. lockdowns, tracking people’s movements, etc.). We explore how these phenomena engaged notions of home, shelter, space, comfort, and community. The project collaborators will also reflect upon how we have used archaeological and anthropological methodologies of documenting and observing as a way of coping with the stress, uncertainty, and trauma of a global pandemic. A core approach to our work has been the recognition that we, too, are each part of the communities experiencing this trauma. Our analysis necessarily includes our own movements through emotional and physical space.