“My goodness.” The ancestral catchphrase, of undoubtedly Spanish resonance, is quite similar to a registered trademark of Jorge Carrión (writer, essayist, academic). In a good part of his public expressions, whether for a post on social networks or to summarize the content of his precise, creative podcasts on platforms, he usually uses it. Required a didactic explanation for those who live in the south of the American continent, the man opts for simplicity in his definition. It is an interjection that expresses surprise or admiration. In Argentine it could be ‘la concha de la lora’ or ‘My God’, he replies. The question (and the answer) come about nothing, or perhaps everything that has to do with this article, dedicated to reviewing and presenting Ecos, Carrión’s new podcast dedicated to great little great mysteries of humanity.
Language, love, the sea, birds, money, silence, outer space. And so. In each chapter of Ecos these issues emerge through a journey of readings, sound settings and quotes -scholarly and not so much- that combined in Carrión’s spoken prose, immerse the listener in a journey of unfathomable mental and sentimental consequences, where reflect on who we are, where we come from, where we are going (the usual questions). The voices of María Negroni, Manuel Vilas and Begoña Ugalde intersect in the carefully edited story, among other writers and poets who read their own creations; the music of The Beatles, Babasónicos and Cher, quotes from Carl Sagan, John Cage, Samuel Beckett. An intellectual zapping that converges in the theme of each episode and responds to the figure that Carrión chooses to comment with Infobae Cultura on the type of cultural consumption typical of these modern times. “We are DJs”, he says.
As in Solaris, his previous experience in the fashionable format for audio content, the Carrión-method proposes to appreciate and live -for this one can resort to his own definition of podcasts- a “pure sound and intellectual experience”. That it is part of the cultural landscape of the 21st century, adds the protagonist. With “poetic rather than essayistic logic”, he concludes. That’s what it’s all about.
Jorge Carrión (Tarragona, 1976): doctor of humanities, writer and host of the podcast “Solaris” and “Ecos” (Photo: Beto Gutierrez)
— Is the podcast an evolution of radio and sound communication? There are millions and the format seems to be fashionable. Will it last?
—The podcast has two natures: that of a digital capsule of radio programs and that of its own and new format. The advantage is à la carte consumption and the level of production, both of the script and of technical production, much higher than in a traditional radio program (with some exceptions, Walter Benjamin was already doing radio). On the other hand, I have never listened to traditional radio.
—What is, in your opinion, a sound essay? Is it the best definition for your podcasts?
—The “sound essay” emerged as a genre in conversations with María Jesús Espinosa de los Monteros, from Podium Podcast, who was the one who contacted me to do a podcast. She wanted me to translate the rhetoric of my essays in the New York Times and my books (like Against Amazon or Teleshakespeare) into the world of audio. Andreu Quesada, who is a publisher and musician, helped me with the transition, in Solaris. In Ecos we go a little further.
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—The selection of the topics of the broadcast house, certainly transcendent, a priori seems to have little relevance and generate little interest in the dominant public debate. There is no discussion about “time” Do you agree? Still why do you choose them?
—Ecos complements Solaris. There each chapter is a key theme of these years, up to 18. Here those themes dialogue with the ancestral. In the chapter on silence, for example, I talk about ASMR, an internet phenomenon of digital creators who whisper into a microphone and has millions of followers. The themes are always transversal and are illustrated with sound examples, with a logic that is more poetic than essayistic.
“I have never listened to traditional radio,” says Jorge Carrión
—Each chapter of Ecos includes literary, musical, cinematographic quotes. Do they correspond to the daily life of your cultural consumption?
—To my consumption and to everyone’s. I don’t know anyone who only reads literature or watches movies. We zap between languages, narratives, devices, rhythms. We are DJs. Ecos follows that contemporary rhythm.
—In your opinion, can we survive such a barrage of communication? A song by The Police from more than 40 years ago was titled “Too much information”. Now, seen what has been seen, it sounds almost naive…
—Instead of burdening ourselves with excess, we must enjoy it. Ecos would not be possible without YouTube or Soundcloud, where there is a lot of irrelevant content, but also many treasures.
The Pompeu Fabra Master’s in Literary Creation celebrated its 15th anniversary: five writers who have graduated from the program and you should read I went, saw and wrote: Why we love listsJorge Carrión: “What technology has done is foster an emotional turn, we talked about the feelings more than ever