Datatrack is an audio-photo series about the inscriptions and traces, the flows and circulation patterns, the spaces, things and materialities that music and sound files build in the contemporary world. This photo series accompanied by original audio clips explore how three music aficionados from Montreal archive, store, create and keep track of musical data. The photos are visual mise-en-scènes of datatracks. They accentuate the ways in which musical tracks are consumed and archived. Different strategies of conservation are used to archive formatted music (MP3, flac, wav, AAC) in hard drives, on shelves, in folders, and even on walls. Yet, once played, sound and music, are uncontainable and the vibrations are lost in the air like a kite without a chord; they flow and evaporate. The audio clips are sonic mise-en-scènes that interweave music composed by the music aficionados, their voices, ambient sounds and audio effects. The sonic mise-en-scènes amplify the materialities of the data track; intensify the flow and lost of data, and magnify the desire –obsession –to track and keep exaggerated amount of data on a cloud, in one’s pocket, or on an external hard drive. Datatrack refers to how people actively keep track of their data even if in a context of digital superabundance users often lose track of where is the data, of what it contains, and to whom it belongs. Datatrack is a wink to the unique strategies we invent to stop the leaking of containment and conservation of data.
The photos and the sound clips were collected in the context of the ethnographic MusDig research project based at the University of Oxford and funded by the European Research Council.
Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier is a visual anthropologist working on music and sound in Cuba, Canada and more recently Brazil. She is an assistant professor in the department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria where she teaches about sound, visual anthropology, media, and creative practices.
Marie-Josée Proulx holds a multidisciplinary bachelor degree in communication, scripting, and anthropology. She completed her Master degree in anthropology on independent film productions in China. She directed several independent productions and took part in production and post-production projects for several television channels in Québec.