Revolt and Ambivalence: Music, Torture and Absurdity in the Digital Oratorio The Refrigerator


The digital oratorio The Refrigerator (A Geladeira, 2014) is a composition that reflects on my own experience of torture as a 17-year-old political prisoner during the Brazilian military dictatorship. This paper examines the existential and artistic contexts underlying the conception of the piece including the connection to my previous work. The investigation focuses on intermedia composition—electroacoustic music, live-electronics, audiovisual composition— and its relation to the subject of the torture. The paper aims, from a philosophical point of view, to build bridges between a phenomenological experience, the music, and the technology of sound synthesis. The Refrigerator expresses the conscious revolt struggling with the ambivalence of the torture and its acceptance as a path of illumination and transcendence. The experience of torture is approached from the perspective of Albert Camus’ philosophy of absurdity and the mythical character of Sisyphus, who embraces absurdity through his passion as much as through his suffering.

This item appeared in English in the collected papers “Bridging People and Sound,” Springer, 2017 ( It was authored by Paulo C. Chagas,, with whose written permission the Russian translation of the article is printed here.