»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.

Workshop: Entanglements of Race, Sound and the Archive: Coloniality and the Globalised Present

Carolyn Birdsall and Anette Hoffmann are organizing a two-day workshop that brings together an interdisciplinary group invested in theoretically-informed, connective histories about modern aurality, race and archival dynamics. With the workshop we seek to facilitate a conversation in the Netherlands and to start building an international network for critical, decolonial research on sound cultural histories and archival practices.

In a short presentation entitled, “Speaking of Sound Archive: Audio Interviews of the Vienna Phonogram Archivists”, meLê yamomo will be presenting a preview of an episode of the podcast “Sonic Entanglements”.

The workshop will be held on 10-11 December 2018 at the University of Amsterdam – University Library. Click here for more information.

Round Table: Activating Audio Collections

Carolyn Birdsall will be moderating a roundtable panel at the 2018 EYE International Conference entitled “Activating Audio Collections”. The EYE International Conference 2018 will take place at EYE-Amsterdam from Saturday 26 May to Tuesday 29 May 2018.

The discussion takes as its departure point recent strategies and challenges concerning access and attempts at ‘activating’ audio collections. How are stakeholders involved? Which role do artists play in featuring archival material? What is the potential role of researchers in initiatives, such as Europeana Sounds? What kinds of specific possibilities or problems appear with audio materials? What kinds of contextualisations are necessary for recorded audio? And what kinds of ethical considerations need to be taken into account? How do current trends at working interdisciplinarily generate new strategies and forms of collaborations in creating access and re-using the collections? How can gender and queer history be mediated by these archives? How can historic media materials reframe our understandings of national and colonial histories? The roundtable participants bring expertise of archives in different cultural contexts and have experience with work as researchers and artists using audio collections and/or promoting access.

The panel will be participated in by:

Carolyn Birdsall (moderator) is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She teaches in the P&P programme, and her current research examines the early history of radio archiving in and beyond Europe.

John Ashley Burgoyne is Lecturer in Computational Musicology at the University of Amsterdam. He is the Project Leader on Hooked on Music, a music experiment and game that has now been played over 3 million times worldwide. Currently he is co-editing the new Oxford Handbook on Music Corpus Analysis.

Ricarda Franzen is Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and coordinates the programme of the MA Dramaturgy. Her doctoral research explores the history, contexts and possible uses of theatre sound archives. As a Dramaturge for radio plays, she has researched archival material for re-use in radio drama narratives.

Jennifer Hsieh is Anthropologist and Postdoctoral Researcher. She is currently completing a study entitled From Festival to Decibel: Making Noise in Urban Taiwan, which investigates the technological, bureaucratic, and informal practices underlying the production of environmental noise as a regulatory object in Taiwan, from the Japanese colonial period to the present.

Gregory Markus is Project Leader at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, where he runs the RE:VIVE initiative, focused on connecting the worlds of electronic music and cultural heritage developing new, simple and creative methods to present collections and increase awareness and re-use of open, digitized heritage collections.

meLê yamomo is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He holds a PhD in Theatre/Musicology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, and is also a Theatre Director and Composer. His current research project is entitled Sonic Entanglements: Listening to Modernities in Southeast Asian Sound Recordings (NWO-Veni, 2017-2021).