Unfolding space: The Travelling Archive – Sukanta Majumdar

Sukanta is a sound artist and film composer who is interested in memories of place and how sound can give you a sense of time. He has been recording for years in an empty factory in Calcutta called National Instruments, and engaged with its history at the different moments in which he has recorded it . This was not thought of as an archival project; it was created for the need of searching for something there, in that empty space, through sound.  Within the process he has been amazed of how sound has an extraordinary way to relate to time, memory and history of a place:


From these sounds he created an installation in 2010 in the lifts of London College of Communication, during a Research Fellowship at CRiSAP. He re-uses many of these sounds also for film and theatre plays.

Since 2003 he has been collaborating with Moushumi Bhowmik, in The Travelling Archive , a sound project that collects memories around Bengali culture, its connections and transformations through the memories of music, but it goes beyond music involving the Bangla language and many other elements associated to this culture. The archive is ‘travelling’ because it goes to people to experience it, searches for people, as opposed to the traditional way of people going to the archive:


When people listen to the archive, the story expands, as they bring more elements to it.  The purpose of the project is to go beyond the known history of traditional perceptions of Bengali culture, for example, in East London.  In that way a new landscape can be created through the connections between memories of people:


The Travelling Archive opens as an installation to the public in Rich Mix, London June 22nd to July 5th , a great opportunity to find connections with Bengali culture as well as with stories of people who live in and between multiple homes.

Within the Sound Matters framework, he finds interesting the possibility of having ‘sonic memories’ as search criteria, that goes beyond the search for a particular sound, but that facilitates an encounter and a connection with links between scattered memories:

Do you identify with Sukanta’s experience, research and ways of looking at an archive?

Use the ‘reply’ button on the top to leave a comment. Many thanks!


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