Afro-Sonic Mapping – Satch Hoyt

Thursday, 14. November 2019, 6.30 PM
weißensee, khb. Raumstrategien, T3.02

Satch Hoyt’s Afro-Sonic Mapping project seeks to trace the migrations of the Afro-Sonic Signifier and understand its transfer through the black Atlantic passage. It is based on an investigation of the earliest recordings of African music by anthropologists Leo Frobenius, Northcote Thomas and Karl Edvard Laman, among others, that employed phonograph-recording machines during their separate field trips in central and West Africa circa 1890 to 1907.

The project will continue to map the sonic associations, transformations and performances of the Afro-Sonic Signifier in diverse Transnational African Diaspora contemporary communities, within the context of colonial bombardments and transatlantic migrations. With a defined focus on its resonances in our current post-colonial time, ​Afro-Sonic Mapping​ links the unchartered waters of anthropological field recordings to the contemporary urban frequencies of Kinshasa, Luanda, Salvador de Bahia, London, Kingston, New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Sonic Mapping is a tool to perceive and understand the existence and migrations of what Hoyt terms the ​Eternal Migration of the Afro-Sonic Signifier.​ ​Afro-Sonic Mapping​ is part of the long-term project ​Kanon-Fragen​ at HKW. In its four-year program, ​Kanon-Fragen​ examines critically the historical narratives and foundations of institutional canon formation of modern and contemporary art and culture.


Satch Hoyt, born in London of British and African-Jamaican ancestry, is currently living and working in Berlin, Germany. He makes sculptures and installations accompanied with sound, as well as performances, paintings and drawings. There is a dichotomy in these genres that define two sides of the same coin: a dual and complementary reflection on the Transnational African Diaspora and its multi-fold consequences. The role that sonicity and music play within this context is Hoyt’s prime focus. His project ​Afro-Sonic Mapping: Tracing Aural Histories via Sonic Transmigrations​ and its various manifestations is what occupies Hoyt’s current practice. The sculptural trope in Hoyt’s work addresses the facts on the ground, so to speak, of black experience, while his Afro-Sonic Map paintings depict middle passage cartography that taps into a spirit of fantasy, refuge and transcendence – as vehicles for an imaginative journey beyond the obduracy and oppressiveness of history. These works are also graphic scores, which can be performed by music ensembles. Afro-Sonic Mapping is made possible with the support by Haus der Kulturen der Welt. As part of the long-term project „Kanon-Fragen“.