This lecture explores sound-based cultural productions made by those affected by the disasters that occurred and began in March 2011—the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation release. These include a sound artist signaling radiation uncertainties and political geographies in an art installation; a phone booth built to allow users to communicate with their deceased loved ones; a musician who samples voices and soundscapes from her lost hometown; a Fukushima University professor conducting an ongoing soundscape archive. The productions gesture at ongoing social issues in subtle ways afforded by sound and recording. In other words, they force us to ask: how to listen to radiation that never sounds, to hear a house that is not there, to attend closely to voices unsure of what to say?
Josh Trichilo is a PhD candidate in the Humanities department at York University, Toronto, and was a 2018-2019 Japan Foundation Fellow. Josh’s work focuses on sound, auditory culture, media, and trauma. Informed by both the fellowship and his experiences as a JET participant in Fukushima from 2011-2014, he studies soundscape archiving, sound art, and experimental music among those affected by the 2011 Tōhoku triple disaster.