Tsonami 2015: Audio Fiction – Sonic Imagination and Urban Speculation


Based in Valparaiso/Santiago, Chile, Tsonami is probably one of the most important international sound art festivals and certainly highly significant for south american sound exploration and practices, not only reflected on their always fine selection of artists, concerts, installations and workshops which happen in their annual festival, but also because of side projects such as itinerant events which are done during the year and the great Aural magazine, started months ago and dedicated to sound art and audio culture.

Last year, the central topic for the festival was sonic geography,  approached in many interesting ways which you can read about in the recently published document dedicated to the 2014 edition available for download as PDF. Also, below is a video which groups the work done during the events.

And this year, the central topic is “audio fiction: sonic imagination and urban speculation”, which addresses interesting questions around urban spaces, the transformation of sonic phenomena, questions around auditory culture/society and the imagination around sound and listening.

Considering the local and global contingency of urban spaces in changing processes, Valparaiso presents itself as a city where symbolism is the main field of battle towards the establishment of a “development model” for the city.

Declared as Unesco World Heritage in 2003, it is considered as the “cultural capital of Chile”, being now the subject of endless speculation about the model capable of releasing it from a long state of decay and neglect. The city appears, then, as a niche for symbolic and urban speculation, generating processes of gentrification on various levels. Continually, port, creative and touristic development models are being discussed, almost always in favor of private interests over public ones.

From this context, we question the role that sonic imagination can play in the future of urban space: Which consequences can have the consideration or the omission of the city’s acoustic energies in models that try to project and think over it, leaving the abandoned audible as a residual aspect of the urban condition? Would it be possible to think about the city starting from the sounds that it should produce? Is it possible to measure the quality of a community life from its acoustic space? Which validity do the ideas of design and acoustic ecology have in the contemporary city? Which is the implication that urban transformation’s phenomena have for the social hear? How do these processes of urban transformation sound?
Beginning from here and many other possible questions, we seek the development of projects that use sound imagination, either projected positively – as pragmatic utopia – or from a field investigation in the territory, in order to propose – speculate from the sound in relation with the city.

Currently the program for the IX version of the festival, which will happen between Nov 30th and Dic 9th, has been published, featuring an amazing lineup of sound artists and explorers from all around the world. Below is a list of activities to be held this year. Details can be found in the official site / program, although it is in Spanish.


Sonic Actions



Research Seminary/Talks

Radio Streaming


  • ¿A qué te suena la gentrificación? (how does gentrification sound? | Cuidadoras de Sonidos (Spain)
  • Percepción aleatoria (random perception) | Carolina Opazo (Chile)
  • Sonidos de Resistencia (sounds in resistance) | Félix Blume (France)
  • ¿En cuál profundidad del sujeto vive la conciencia de la escucha? (in which deepness of the subject lies the consciousness of listening?) | Sara Lana & Marcelo XYZ (Brasil)

Visit Tsonami website, where you can find more info about previous activities and projects. There is also a YouTube channel with more interesting videos: