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“Soundscape in the Anthropology of Science and Art”

Department of Research Arts is happy to invite you to take part in the roundtable discussion “Soundscape in the Anthropology of Science and Art” which will be dedicated to different ways sound is used in contemporary anthropological and artistic practices. Before the discussion we will screen Solaris, a film by Pavel Borecký.

The event is jointly organised by Department of Research Arts and National Research University Higher School of Economics and is a part of the program of  VI International Festival of Audiovisual Anthropology “Days of Ethnographic Cinema”

(Moscow; September 27 – October 1, 2016)

Venue: Triumph Gallery, 3/8, Ilyinka Street, building 5.
Date and time: September 29, 2016; 6.00 pm.
Entrance: Free (Registration is required via

Contact: Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov,

Film screening

Solaris (Estonia, 2014)
25 minutes, subtitles in English.

Directed by Pavel Borecký (Estonia).
The screening will start at 6pm.

The film exposes closing hours and nighttime heartbeat of Tallinn shopping mall – a place built to entertain and mirror the world. The ambiguity of camera gaze and the immersive soundscape will confront viewer with a raw materiality of fleeting encounters, circulatory systems and gradually transforming atmosphere. The dialogue-free sensory ethnography will invite you to question limit between the body and the world in one of the most vibrant urban ecosystems.

Pavel Borecký
Pavel Borecký is an aspiring visual anthropologist holding MSc degree in Sustainable Development and co-founder of anthropological research organization Anthropictures. He carried out fieldworks in Serbia, Peru and Czech Republic focusing on visual ethnobotany, community building and urban placemaking. Currently, he studies Audiovisual Ethnography at School of Humanities+Baltic Film and Media School in Tallinn and collaborates with Estonian Urban Laboratory and Vita Pictura Productions.

Roundtable discussion
Soundscape in the Anthropology of Science and Art
The discussion will start at 6.30pm.

The discussion will be in English.

Chair: Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov.

Contemporary art has lately offered a range of experimentation with sensory media, far beyond the conceptualist reduction of the aesthetic to commentary. Meanwhile, sound and sensory studies have proliferated throughout humanities and social sciences. From histories of sound to the anthropology and sociology of acoustic ecologies, this vibrant cross-disciplinary conversation not only brings a fresh understanding of societies and cultures but also challenges modes of knowing and explanation that have privileged the visual (“to see is to understand”), the textual (interpretive), and the object-oriented. How is sound different from vision and visualization, as in visual anthropology, and as in gaze as an idiom of knowledge? What is sound as a subject and method in research and art? How, if at all, does it redraw the boundaries between them? What forms of research arts does it generate? What kind of relational aesthetics and relations of knowledge does it afford? The discussion takes its cue from a recent anthropological film by Pavel Borecký, Solaris, which looks at soundscapes of a shopping mall, and a recent book by Stefan Helmreich, Sounding the Limits of Life (Princeton University Press, 2015), which examines ways in which biologists and many others use sound to create new kinds of knowledge claims about the world, from the deep ocean to outer space. The aim of this round table is to bring together scholars and artists from different fields.

Participants: Stephan Helmreich, Andrey Smirnov, Panos Kompatsiaris, Max Miroshnichenko, Pavel Borecký, Vladislav Tarnopolski, Svetlana Bankovskaya.

Discussant: Victor Vakhshtayn.


Department of Research Arts
Department of Research Arts (established by Triumph Gallery in 2013) is a collaborative experimental platform for social scientists and scholars from humanities and contemporary artists. The Department pursues project driven work at the intersection of social sciences, humanities and art.