Skip to main content
Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Aurelio Meza Valdez, Humanities

Sound Works: Prototyping a Digital Audio Repository for Sound Art and Poetry in Mexico

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Jennifer Sachs


J.W. McConnell Building
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Room LB 362



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


This dissertation reflects on the prototyping process carried out for creating and developing PoéticaSonora’s digital audio repository focused on storing, editorializing and disseminating works of sound art and poetry readings produced or recorded in Mexico since 1960. While describing the theoretical, technical, and methodological implications at stake in the design, deployment, and refactoring of the PoéticaSonora prototype (PSP), this dissertation speculates on how experimentation and a hands-on approach to sound recordings are essential for advancing fieldwork-based research in the humanities, particularly literary criticism. The notions of voice, inscription, and instrumentality, discussed in depth throughout this work, are essential for constructing a sound-oriented approach to poetry and sound art with the aid of digital tools such as the ones offered by the PSP.

After a brief panorama reviewing the many artistic scenes and genres that are present in the PSP, the Introduction frames the project’s importance for both gathering and discerning artistic tendencies in Mexico that have not still been properly analyzed by current text-oriented approaches to literary criticism. Chapter 1 proposes a decolonial approach on how to establish a duly horizontal dialogue around digital audio repositories in Canada and Mexico. It also delineates the necessary conditions met by PoéticaSonora to design a workflow respecting the features of artistic communities, cultural institutions, and private collectors who contribute to the PSP. After a close analysis to the prototype’s data schema and its design, deployment, and refactoring phases, Chapter 2 discusses how the restraints of database management systems both affected and modified the theoretical and methodological approach followed by the PoéticaSonora team. Chapter 3 focuses on a case study of how women vocal artists in Mexico City use and share sample-looping techniques among each other, as an example of how fieldwork contributed to fix problems in the data schema discussed in Chapter 2, such as the distinction between individual artists and collectives, between singing and reciting voice, and in the use of instruments, apart from their own voices. The epilogue discusses the necessary steps to develop the PoéticaSonora Beta version, as well as to host it in a definitive server with all the institutional, administrative, and social implications this will have on the project as a whole.

Back to top

© Concordia University