Dariusz Brzostek is an associate professor of cultural studies at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. His main research interests are sound studies, science, technology studies, science fiction, and horror studies. His current research project is concerned with early Polish electronic music (Polish Radio Experimental Studio), counterculture in Poland, Communist Era science fiction, and history of jazz. He is also field recordist working in i.a. China, USA, Morocco, Jamaica, France and Portugal, and sound artist experimenting with electronic sounds.
Field Recording as the Technology of Self: Acoustic Ecology and the Ethics of Care
Foucault’s idea of the care of the self (epimeleia heautou) is a part of his larger concept of „the technologies of self”, „which permit individuals to effect by their own means or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality”. Carrol Gilligan’s concept of the ethics of care, by contrast, emphasizes that: „caring be viewed as a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our” so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, our selves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web”. This paper discusses field recording practice as the technology of self and simultaneously poses the question about the possible transformation of the self-care into a care of a life-sustaining web. This research is based on the recordings, interviews and statements of the Polish field recordists.