“Unrecording Nature” presented by Chattopadhyay


Session Title:

  • Possible Listenings and Recordings

Presentation Title:

  • Unrecording Nature




  • The colonial import of early media technologies, e.g. sound recording in Global South faced a stiff resistance from the local practitioners. In this paper, I am interested to investigate why leading South Asian musicians and sound practitioners were not enthusiastic about recording their voices on the shellac discs; and for a long time resisted recording their improvisational sounds as they were: offerings to nature and the situated environment. What were the reasons of their contention and resistance? I argue, the pre-colonial sound practitioners feared that recording technology would contaminate their performances by mutating the natural and embedded connections they uphold in their practice. By discussing this unknown history, the paper aims to shed light on the discourse on how do we inhabit and relate with nature, and transform our environments on the media.