DeCoSEAS project leaders meLê yamomo and Barbara Titus published a joint article about the complexities of curating colonial sound archives with DeCoSEAS concerns forming the core of the article. The article titled, “The Persistent Refrain of Colonial Archival Logic / Sounding Out the Jaap Kunst Collection” was published in a themed issue of the world of music (new series) edited by Rasika Ajotikar.
This double-authored article addresses colonial entanglements in the scholarly construction, employment, and investigation of sound archives with particular attention to the aural encounters that such recorded bodies of knowledge engender. Outlining their academic, epistemic, and personal positionalities, meLê yamomo and Barbara Titus engage in a written dialogue that foregrounds the (equally colonially informed) entanglements of their collective and individual thought during their ongoing collaboration in investigating sound archives. Titus provides a funnel for the foregrounding of audible colonial entanglements by analyzing the recordings of a Timorese natoni ritual in the early 20th century, by missionary Pieter Middelkoop. These recordings ended up in the Jaap Kunst Collection, now located at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, under Titus's curation. In her analysis, Titus attempts to reach beyond the agencies of Middelkoop, Kunst, and herself as a curator in the formation of sound archival knowledge. This attempt succeeds only to a very limited extent. yamomo dwells on the wider epistemological implications of such attempts by addressing his own archival research as well as the Sonic Entanglements Tour he organized with scholars from Southeast Asia along with formative colonial sound archives in Europe in 2019.
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