On 5-6 August, nine scholars, scientists, engineers, historians, and musicians presented their sound archives and sonic theoretical reflections in the Untangling Philippine Sound, Archive, and Knowledge Workshop. We invited researchers and archivists who work with specific sound archives. We define a sound archive as a collection or library of sound recordings, personal or institutionally collected and created in or for the Philippine context. In working with the materiality of Philippine sound archives, the workshop aimed at making legible implicit scientific, academic, cultural, or social knowledges embedded in the sound recordings. The participants presented their archives: their content, history, collection purposes, and how these materials contribute to the practice and discipline. The presentations also contextualized scholarly and scientific theories drawn from these sonic archival materials.

On Day 1, sound and performance historian and scholar meLê yamomo argued for the historicization of sound, sonus, and the media event in his presentation, “When is that moment in history that a sound becomes a sound?” Speech and performance scholar Oscar Tantoco Serquiña traced the history of speech pedagogy and the role of sound technology in the development of Philippine English in the presentation, “Spoken into Existence: Performances of Oral English and the Ugly Sounds of Empire in the U.S.-Occupied Philippines.” Drawing from her rigorous archival research in the Philippines, the US, and Europe, media and broadcasting historian Elizabeth Enriquez mapped the complex colonial and postcolonial history of Philippine radio in “Untangling archives for a history of radio broadcasting in the Philippines.” Enriquez also presented her current project of producing a series of documentaries on the history of Philippine broadcasting based on extant archival sources. Historian Kristoffer Esquejo considered the intertwining of oral history with local historiography in his presentation, “Some Reflections on Philippine History and Oral Methodology: The Filipino Experience.” LaVerne David C. de la Peña, dean of the UP College of Music and director of the UP Center of Ethnomusicology, reflected on the role of an ethnomusicology archive with the different Philippine indigenous communities in his presentation “Recovery, Safekeeping and Restoration: The Shifting Praxis of Ethnomusicology at the University of the Philippines.”

On the second day, Franz de Leon, professor of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and current director of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, presented their University of the Philippines (UP) and DOST funded-project, “Development of a Philippine Indigenous Instrument Sounds Database.” In partnership with the UP Center for Ethnomusicology, this project collaborated with different indigenous communities in recording and applying signal processing techniques for Philippine indigenous music and in the creation of an online audio archive and database. Ethnomusicologist and administrator of the UP Center of Ethnomusicology, Sol Maris Trinidad, examined the administrative and practical considerations of running a sound archive in the presentation, “Establishing a Philippine Sound Archive: Chronicling the UP Center for Ethnomusicology.” The Dean of the UP College of Science, Giovanni Tapang, drew from their two-year archive of pandemic environmental sound recordings to listen to and sonically identify local bird species and their activities during the “anthro-pause.” He reflected on the entanglements of biological diversity and the history of extractive colonialism in his presentation, “We shall never hear the world this way again: Snapshots of nature as we lose it.” Closing the workshop, music composer and sound artist Teresa Barrozo presented an overview of her creative process as an artist working with sound and music. Teresa will also produce a sound art piece based on her documentation of the workshop and the different sound archival materials contributed by the participants.

The workshop examined the intersections and entanglements of knowledge systems within Philippine history, society, and scientific disciplines through cross- and inter-disciplinary conversations. How might one discipline learn or apply sound analyses from another discipline? What understandings can we draw from the different sound organization and listening practices in the various areas of knowledges? Can we formulate a sound theory from the entanglements of the various Philippine sound research practices and archiving? A book of collected essays will be published based on this workshop.

The workshop was also attended by SOAS Radio Station Manager Fredrik Molin and sound documentary artist Pierre Prouteau – who will produce the second season of the Sonic Entanglements Podcast.

This workshop is co-organized by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research – Sonic Entanglements Project and the UP Center for Ethnomusicology.


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