VENI Grant meLê Yamomo
Sonic Entanglements: Listening to Modernities in Southeast Asian Sound Recordings, 1890-1950
»Sonic Entanglements« will identify, organize, and analyze extant early sound (musical and non-musical) media in and about Southeast Asia during the emergence and development of early recording technologies in the region (1890-1950). The research 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. Through this, the project shifts away from the philological analyses of historical texts, towards developing a framework of knowing how residents of Southeast Asia understood and constituted modernities through hearing and listening. In doing so, the study aims to provide a corrective in the text literacy-based historiography of Southeast Asian modernities which occludes non-literate actors and ‘voices’. This study on historical sounds of the Southeast Asian region also contributes to expanding the geographical and cultural bases of sound studies and sound history. The project will examine three themes of modernities in three different case studies: (1) modern racial epistemology and the colonial practices of ethnomusicology, (2) urbanization and ‘noise’ policies, and (3) anti/postcolonial political identities and early radio broadcast.