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Sonic Street Technologies (SST): their diaspora and what they tell us about technology and scientific knowledge

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 866239

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 January 2021

  • End date

    31 December 2025

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 988 710

  • EU contribution

    € 1 988 710

Hosted by:

GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE

United Kingdom

Objective

This project claims that ‘sonic street technologies’ (SST) provide a new, productive and urgently required understanding of the social, cultural and political nature of technology. Jamaican reggae sound systems, Brazilian mobile carnival trio electrico, Mexican sonideros and Colombian los picos are examples of such ‘street’ technologies. In the global south they are played out of doors and are an essential part of popular culture. These are re-purposed, hacked, DIYed, pirated, customized and creolized assemblages that generate intensive auditory experience for their audience by playing recorded music.

This project investigates the sophisticated practices and techniques by which SST are designed, produced and operated, as well as their social and cultural purposes in the communities in which they originate. SST are subaltern achievements operating in the ghettos and favelas at the margins of the cities and societies whose mass-produced machinery they often cannibalise.

This project maps what is describes as the ‘technological diaspora’ of the SST themselves. A cultural studies approach compares different local SST, their social and economic circumstances, and the presence or absence of Jamaican or African influence. A practice-as-research methodology gives local SST practitioners a share in the research process with workshops, conferences and an online resource. This helps to establish the alternatives to conventional ideas of design and production processes, as well as scientific knowledge itself.

By de-colonizing technology, the project addresses the pressing need to understand how technology actually works in practice. This is ever more urgent with the ‘existential’ threat of AI and killer robots, together with technology’s imbrication in climate catastrophe and digital social media’s erosion of democratic processes and privacy. Instead SST low-tech innovations generate solutions for individual and community well-being and self-determination.

Host institution

GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE

Address

Lewisham Way
Se14 6nw London

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 988 710

Beneficiaries (1)

GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 1 988 710

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 866239

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 January 2021

  • End date

    31 December 2025

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 988 710

  • EU contribution

    € 1 988 710

Hosted by:

GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE

United Kingdom