Operator Please: Field Recording Practices Through The Lens Of Agential Realism


  • Jesse Budel


field recording, agential realism


The past decade has seen the proliferation of inexpensive long-duration field recording technologies made available to creative practitioners, researchers and amateurs alike. Without the need for continuous attendance of equipment, such technologies have led to the rise of unattended field recording methodologies, considered as objective and minimally impactful on recording sites.

The presentation draws on perspectives offered by Karen Barad’s ‘agential realist’ paradigm - which view the ontological and epistemological relationships object/subject, phenomena/apparatus as intra-active and entangled - and interrogates (material-discursive) field recordings practices as related to acoustic ecology and ecoacoustics. The agency of the field recordist as part of the field recording apparatus is given particular consideration, complicating claims of objective observation and offering renewed ideas of acoustic observation and listening.