Migrant Sound Stamps

Migrant Sound Stamps

Argentinian overseas migration brought to life in this interactive sound sculpture

Migrant Sound Stamps is an interactve sound installation which was developed as part of a larger project aiming to map out the sonic identity of Argentina. This touch sensitive installation uses Bela and Trill Craft to allow visitors to recompose with the sounds of Argentinian migration.

Tracing Migrant Footsteps

Migrant Sound Stamps is a culmination of the research conducted in the project “Historical-Sound Map of Argentina”. This project comes from the Postgraduate Specialization in Sound Art of the Argentine National University of Tres de Febrero.

The Historical-Sound Map of Argentina is an artistic, technological, and musical project that focused on the collection and analysis of representative sound material from Argentina across it’s different historical periods. The objective was to build a foundational sound database which captures some of the cultural value impregnating in the sound and music of Argentinian culture. Migrant Sound Stamps brings this archive to the public gallery.

Interacting with Sonic History

Migrant Sound Stamps consists of a large interactive sculpture that intervenes in the space through sound. The public are able to interact with the object by touching and manipulating it: their actions trigger playback and modify the files housed in sculpture and paint the sound space with sound.

Migrant Sound Stamps focuses on the historical period of European Overseas Immigration that occurred between 1880 and 1950 in Argentina. The installation reflects on how the sounds of this period function as a frame of reference, through which the world is redefined. Is it possible to suppose that the traces of that sound persist to today? Could we then think that something from the port’s horns, from the noise of the masses over which heterogeneous accents, life stories, musical collages stand out, transcends time to arrive to our days unnoticed?

The sculpture contains a library of sounds obtained during the fieldwork of the research (interviews, stories, musical archives of European immigrants and their relatives); representations of scenes from the period; soundscape (sea, horns of boat, etc.), added to the sound material obtained from existing archives such as the National Library and the General Archive of the Nation of Argentina.

Making the installation

The sculpture is giant dodecahedron which houses sounds representative of overseas immigration on each face. For these to be heard, it is necessary to gently bring your hands over the surface of the faces or over the small sculptures they contain. Each face visually represents the professions and trades which European immigrants brought from their homeland and those they learned in our country.

When these objects are touched they are brought to life sonically. The sound of each of the objects represent different dimensions of immigration (experiences, music, sound landscape, jobs, etc.).

The installation uses a Bela board running Pure Data for the sample playback and a Trill Craft for detecting touches on the conductive materials on each of the faces. Here you can see some of the making process:

This work was created by Luciano Andrés Borrillo, Andrés Claiman, Leonardo Ferrando and María Vanesa Ruffa. The sculpture has been exhibited at the Argentine Museum of Immigration – MUNTREF.