Sounding Modernities – Philippine Book Launch and Lecture

You are cordially invited to the Philippine launch of dr. meLê yamomo’s book, »Sounding Modernities: Theatre and Music in Manila and the Asia Pacific, 1869-1946« on 21 February at the University of the Philippines Diliman-College of Music.

As part of the Musikolokya, dr. yamomo will give a lecture about his proposed theory of the Anthropology of Sound and discuss this within the context of nineteenth-century theatre and musical practices in Manila and the Asia Pacific. Together with Prof. Jose Buenconsejo , he will also conduct a graduate workshop at the UP Museum of Musical Instruments following the book launch. (Please see the poster below for time and schedule)

A limited number of discounted copies of the book will be available during the launch. Attendees will also receive Palgrave Macmillan discount coupons that can be used for online purchases of the book.

Special thanks to Prof. Patricia Brillantes Silvestre and the Dept. of Musicology for making this event possible.

Abstract of the Lecture
The arrival of modernity is often hailed in visual terms, but not as much as with the heraldry of its concomitant proliferation of sound, nor in how the modern society dealt and organized what they were hearing. The lecture inquires into the process of ‘acoustemology’ (or acoustic epistemology, Steven Feld 1996). What kind of ‘acoustemes’ do hearing and listening reveal in nineteenth-century modernity and the modern epistemologies of race in the colonial spaces? To understand how modernity and the volatile imagination of race were imagined, heard and embodied, yamomo theoretically reflects on the intersections of sound studies, musicology and performance studies. By synaesthetically comparing Hans Belting’s image theory (2001, 2005) into an Anthropology of Sound, yamomo argues that the sound of modernity is inextricably intertwined with its mediated form (music) and its (racialized) embodiment. This theory also proposes the concept of the ‘sonus‘ to separate the materiality of sound from its epistemological construction.

The lecture will examine the intersection between sound and modernity in dramatic and musical performance in Manila and the Asia-Pacific between 1869 and 1948. During this period, tolerant political regimes resulted in the globalization of capitalist relations and the improvement of transcontinental travel and worldwide communication. This allowed modern modes of theatre and music consumption to instigate the uniformization of cultural products and processes, while simultaneously fragmenting societies into distinct identities, institutions, and nascent nation-states. Taking the performing bodies of migrant musicians as the locus of sound, yamomo argues that the global movement of acoustic modernities was replicated and diversified through its multiple subjectivities within empire, nation, and individual agencies. It traces the arrival of European travelling music and theatre companies in Asia which re-casted listening into an act of modern cultural consumption, and follows the migration of Manila musicians as they engaged in the modernization project of the neighboring Asian cities.

Project Launch

On 31 January 2018, NWO-Veni Laureate, meLê yamomo will launch the research project, »Sonic Entanglements: Listening to Modernities in Sound Recordings of Southeast Asia, 1890-1950«. »Sonic Entanglements« endeavors to expand the historiographical archival corpus to include the early sound media and technologies as primary sources for the theoretical reflection of the Southeast Asian cultural history of modernities and the region’s entanglement with modern globalization. The four-year project is embedded at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam.  During the project launch, Dr. yamomo will discuss the content of the research, introduce the Sonic Entanglements website, and present the trailer for the project’s podcast.

Date:    31 January 2018
Time:    17:15-19:00
Venue: Universiteitstheater Amsterdam, Room 101A

Program:
17:15 Tea/Coffee
17:30 Message: Prof. dr. Kati Röttger
17:45 Presentation of Project
18:15 Borrel/Cocktails (University Theatre Foyer)