This paper develops a conception of ‘carceral atmospheres’ as a way of framing our encounter with the sound art and archive how are you today, created by the Manus Recording Project Collective (MRPC). Over a period of fourteen weeks in 2018, this work involved the creation and collection of 84 field recordings by six men indefinitely detained on Manus Island by the Australian government. Highlighting the mobile qualities of sound, each 10-minute field recording was sent from Manus to Melbourne and uploaded for playback as part of the Eavesdropping exhibition, originally staged at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne in 2018 and later at City Gallery in Wellington in 2019. Following its temporary staging in the gallery – each day of the exhibition featuring a new recording, played on loop – how are you today was developed into an online archive. In this digital archive, the recordings can be played and paused as the listener pleases, but not otherwise controlled through rewinding or fast-forwarding. Each field recording is accompanied by a date, the name of the creator, and a brief textual description of the soundscape it captures.
Recommended CitationRussell, Emma K., Carceral atmospheres on Manus Island: Listening to how are you today, Law Text Culture, 24, 2020.