May 13, 2021
Please join us this evening for a presentation from PhD student Chris Batterman Cháirez, with a response from Siting Jiang.
“So Let’s Bang on Some Pots”: Sound, Intimacy, and the Political Anatomy of Affect in Brazil’s Panelaços
Abstract: In March of 2020, following new shelter-in-place orders enacted in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro exploded into a clamor of pots, pans, and voices. Residents throughout Brazil took to their balconies nightly to participate in “panelaços”—literally “big pot bangs”—a longstanding mode of sounded protest and political participation in Brazil that has come to be associated with political discontent and impeachment. The most recent instances were aimed at President Jaír Bolsonaro, as shouts of “Bolsonaro out!” and “Bolsonaro genocide!” drew together a sonic public to express dissatisfaction with his dismissive handling of the pandemic and lack of empathy for the thousands that have died. This paper takes the panelaços as a dense site from which to consider how the social and affective registers of collective precarity are mediated by aural practices of sounding and listening. Drawing from ethnographic work among Rio’s panelaço participants, I suggest that the panelaços be understood as a plural performative social space that not only generates intimate attachments among its participants and auditors but engenders and gives new meaning to notions of stranger sociality and political solidarity.
Chris Batterman Cháirez is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. His work focuses broadly on sound and aurality in relation to questions of environment, affect and sociality, and the various intimacies humans construct with each other and with their environments.