Keynote speakers

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
Artist and Researcher
Leiden University

Thu 9th Sep 10:00 am
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay: Hyper- and Co-listening: Thoughts on Sound, Selfhood, Solidarity, and Solace

In this talk, I investigate how the mindful, subjective, and collaborative aspects of listening practices engages with the sonic environment in a two-step process of personal and collaborative, as termed “hyper-listening” and “co-listening” respectively, and helps focus on the contemplation and capacity for reciprocity of the listener in regards to his or her situational contexts and wellbeing. This approach generates an inclusive mode of engagement with lived environments, the community and co-habiting others by a production of context-aware subjectivity. Drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy’s work Listening (2017) and departing from Michel Chion’s listening modes described in his book Audio-Vision (1994), hyper-listening and co-listening operate as a set of individual and collective exercises and experiments in sonic medi(t)ation that intends to encourage listening to self and others without making immediate judgments by transcending ontological and epistemological constraints of sound. The idea revolves around listening as a mindful act to compassionately engage with the self and the environment, and bodies that inhabit it, namely humans, plants, animals, and other sentient beings. Challenging the Western modernist idea of listening as immediate meaning-making to navigate the everyday by arriving at deductive conclusions, I discuss in this talk how hyper-listening and co-listening together underscore emancipatory acts of listening towards generating an acoustic solidarity to provide solace, care and empathy in times of great turmoil and crises.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is an artist, media practitioner, researcher, and writer. Incorporating diverse media, such as sound, text, and moving image, Chattopadhyay produces works for large-scale installation and live performance addressing contemporary issues of climate crisis, human intervention in the environment and ecology, urbanity, migration, race and decoloniality. Chattopadhyay has received numerous fellowships, residencies and international awards. His works have been widely exhibited, performed or presented across the globe, and published by Gruenrekorder (Germany) and Touch (UK). Chattopadhyay has an expansive body of scholarly publication in the areas of media arts and aesthetics, cinema and sound studies in leading peer-reviewed journals. He is the author of three books, The Nomadic Listener (2020), The Auditory Setting (2021), and Between the Headphones (2021). Chattopadhyay holds a PhD in artistic research and sound studies from the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, and an MA in New Media from the Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University

Fernando Coimbra
PhD in Prehistory and Archaeology
Professor in Archaeoacoustics and Rock Art
Polytechnic Institute of Tomar
Researcher of the Geosciences Centre, University of Coimbra

Thu 9th Sep 3:00 pm
Fernando Coimbra: Sound resonance in sacred places and mind/body experiences

Sound Archaeology (Archaeoacoustics) has been a growing field of research since the 90’, despite some earlier pioneering work. The author presents three cases studies of fieldwork in archaeological sites where significant resonance was found, which also lead to some mind/body experiences. The first case is the Cave of Escoural, in southern Portugal, with Palaeolithic rock art and Neolithic burials, where the tests focused on playing a reproduction of a Palaeolithic bone flute, vocalizations and percussion, being all naturally amplified by the cave’s environment. The 2nd case is the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, in Paola (Malta), with Neolithic burials and paintings and an impressive reverberation time of 7,8 seconds, where several acoustic tests were made by a large interdisciplinary team. Particularly interesting was playing a drum and a horn inside one of the rooms, which provoked a strong mind/body experience on a participant placed in other part of the Hypogeum, which will be fully described in the author’s presentation. The 3rd case is constituted by two groups of small funerary hypogea around Lisbon (Portugal), with Neolithic and Copper Age burials and half sphere structured resonant chambers. One of the groups is located in the municipality of Amadora and the other one in the municipality of Palmela, respectively on the north and south of the Tagus River. The tests focused on playing two reproductions of Late Neolithic/Early Copper Age ceramic drums and vocalisations. Due to the chambers’ resonance and being played at a low frequency, the drums provoked a deep relaxation in the participants. Further tests will be carried out at the Cave of Escoural, mainly in front of a specific rock art motif, in order to determine if altered states of consciousness could have taken place in Prehistory, in that specific location.

Fernando Coimbra completed his PhD in March 2007 in the University of Salamanca and a Post-doctoral research in rock art in the Geosciences Centre (University of Coimbra), in 2010. Fernando is an invited professor of the Erasmus Mundus Master on Prehistoric Archaeology and Rock Art (Polytechnic Institute of Tomar, Portugal), where he teaches Archaeoacoustics and Rock Art. He made several lectures, by invitation, in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece and published about 110 scientific articles and 11 books about Archaeology, Rock Art, Archaeoacoustics and Cultural Heritage, most of them in English. Regarding Archaeoacoustics, he was a member of the “Hal Saflieni Hypogeum Acoustic Project” (Malta, 2014), member of the Organizing Committee and Scientific Committee of the International Conference –”Archaeoacoustics III, the Archaeology of Sound” (Tomar, 2017), coordinated the Organizing Committee of the two symposia – “Archaeology, Archaeoacoustics and Neuroscience: What kind of relation?” (National Museum of Archaeology, Lisbon, 2018; Convento, Chamusca, 2019). Fernando was a member of the Organizing Committee and Scientific Comittee of several other international conferences about Archaeology. He coordinated/co-coordinated rock art fieldwork in Philippi, Greece (2005, 2006, 2010), Valbormida, Liguria, Italy (2008) and Portugal (1991-present times). Fernando Coimbra has also supervised several master and PhD thesis regarding rock art.