‘Nendú’  – the title of archive – envisages the creation of an online platform dedicated to presenting and mapping the work of contemporary brazilian sound artists. A process based upon the following objectives:

1) creating a ‘map’ that enables the dissemination and discovery of local praxis;
2) prompting conversations or different types of documentation that better ilustrate individual creative processes (‘journal’);
3) re-affirming the idea of the ‘archive’  as a research tool;
4) writing a historical and critical report on brazilian sound art;

The online ‘map’ enables users to discover different practitioneers based on where they are, but more importantly on what categories they (the artists) have asked to be associated with; categories consist of designations of practices that cross the current imaginary of sound art historiography and reflection. A porous and rizomatic territory, that while echoing the obvious specificity of the experience and presentation of sounding artworks — temporally, spatially and formally — doesn’t exclude practical, historical and conceptual connections with music, architecture, performance or visual arts.

This framework informs the process of selection of  artists in the ‘map’ — that goes from individual research to contacts with curators, friends and other researchers. It is important to state that this process is open, until the end of the project in June 2017 to any individual that wants to be part of the platform. This openness possibilitates a dialogue between the ‘archivist’ and interested parties, while at the same time potentiates a reflection regarding the relationship with the idea of ‘sound art’ and the role of sound within different artistic practices.

The second element (called ‘journal’) consists of field work (to be done until the end of 2016) where the ‘archivist’, together with a smaller selections of artists, attempts to present different in-depth reports of  ‘ways of doing’ sound art. This material is published in parallel to the map as a blog and will consist of interviews, photos, videos, audio recordings, etc.

The strategies that will be applied and the way this project is presented, illustrates the ‘archivist’ subjectivity and his positioning regarding the conceptual and practical imaginary around the idea of ‘sound art’. The title of this project demonstrates this positioning and explicits the temporal nature of this work:

A possible archive (realized between 2016-2017) of brazilian sound art’

The articulation of these elements (map/journal) foregrounds a critical reasoning regarding the idea of the archive as a research tool: not only as a repository of artists and work done, but also as a way of doing an ‘archeology’ of discourses, made objects and creative processes of these practitioneers. From a methodological standpoint the creation of the archive is supported by an ethnographic approach — tracing common ideas or patterns between conversations, materials or other artefacts (texts, videos, audio recordings or photographs) gathered during the project. This not only allows an understanding of a possible formal aesthetic discourse (collective or individual), but also an insight and possible contextualization of this thematic within a broader cultural arena. The objective is that through mapping particular ways of doing, one allows participants/artists — but also possible users – a better comprehension of the prevalent cultural terms.

In the end, this methodology is geared towars the creation of a historical and critical report regarding the current panorama of brazilian ‘sound art’. Because Nendu is also Tupi for ‘listening to one-self’. This meaning functions as a metaphor for the creation of an archive  that envisages creating an alternative historiography and reflections based on european/american narratives.


Nendú  –  ‘A possible archive (realized between 2016-2017) of brazilian sound art’ is a postdoctoral project by Rui Chaves. Made possible by a grant from FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) and based at NuSom – Research Centre on Sonology (University of São Paulo). 

I want to thank Fernando Iazzetta for his guidance and support that made this initiative possible. I also want to mention Christof Migone for the conversations that shaped some of the methodologies in this research.