When a Poet Disappears

Preview screening, in the presence of the director and followed by a debate moderated by André Iteanu, anthropologist (CNRS, EPHE) organized by the Société des Océanistes as part of the Océanistes cinema cycle, in collaboration with the International Festival of the Oceanian Documentary Film.

In the Toraja Mountains of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, Lumbaa is one of the last masters of ritual speech. Forced to convert to Pentecostalism, he was obliged to interrupt his oratory and ceremonial activity. Faced with the disappearance of “those who know”, a young priest, named Yans Sulo, sets off in search of ancient orality to reinvent in his own way a form of remanence. The two men meet. But it’s too late.
By telling the story of Lumbaa’s life and death, this film tells the story of a society turned upside down by the intrusion of a religion with a universalist aim. 

  • Ethnographic documentary (Sulawesi, Indonesia) by Dana Rappoport
    82 mn, 2020, production Le Miroir, Gabriel ChabanierAward-winning film at the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) Film Festival March 2021 (UK)
    Selected at Riga Pasaules Film Festival (Latvia) September 2021
  • Place :  Movie room | musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, 37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris
  • Dates:
    Saturday September 11, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

New Publication about Sound Archives

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 was published in a themed issue of the world of music (new series), entitled Postcolonial Sound Archives: Challenges and Potentials, edited by Rasika Ajotikar.

This double-authored article addresses colonial entanglements in the scholarly construction, employment and investigation of sound archives with particular attention for 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 analysing 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 organised with scholars from Southeast Asia along formative colonial sound archives in Europe in 2019.

Virtual Exhibit Kaagi: Tracing Visayan Identities Through Cultural Texts

Following the 2021 Annual Philippine Studies Conference at SOAS, University of London, PI Cristina Juan curated the virtual exhibit Kaagi: Tracing Visayan Identities Through Cultural Texts. The exhibit explores the ways in which texts, objects and performances negotiate, mediate and translate the ‘Bisaya’ as a collective identifier of culture, language and artistic practice.

Drawing on archival sources on the Visayas, dating up to the 17th century, most specially the Arte de la lengua bisaya hiliguayna de la Isla de Panay (circa 1628) now kept at the SOAS Special Collections and Archives, the exhibit explores the connections between colonial archives and cultural practices from the Visayan region. The exhibit’s interactive portal features ten categories of early contact cultural heritage and extends the exploration by accompanying these with works by contemporary Filipino artists who adapt, transform, and subvert these representations in their practices.

The #sonicentanglements PODCAST IS UP!

THE #sonicentanglements PODCAST IS UP!

Hosted by sound historian meLê yamomo, the Sonic Entanglements Podcast examines the history of sound in Southeast Asia through conversations with sound experts: historians, archivists, sound engineers, artists, and scholars.

SUBSCRIBE TO SONIC ENTANGLEMENTS: Apple Podcasts: Pocket Casts: Podbean: Spotify:


Dana Rappoport’s film “Death of the One Who Knows” selected for Riga Pasaules Film Festival

After having been selected for the Festival du Film de Voyage et d’Aventures Vecues and the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival and being commended for the Richard Werbner Award for Visual Anthropology, Dana Rappoport’s documentary film Death of the One Who Knows has now been selected for the Riga Pasaules Film Festival.

In the Toraja highlands of Sulawesi (Indonesia), Lumbaa is one of the last masters of ritual speech. After his forced conversion to Pentecostalism, he is compelled to stop all his ritual activity and oratory. Concerned by the disappearance of “those who know”, a young Catholic priest named Yans Sulo sets out in search of the society’s ancient oral genres, seeking to invent new forms that would keep them alive. The two men meet, but it is too late. By recounting the life and death of Lumbaa, the film shows how the intrusion of a world religion disrupts a Southeast Asian society.

The trailer of the film can be watched here.

Pierre Prouteau appointed as postdoc at DeCoSEAS

We warmly welcome Pierre Prouteau in ours midst. Pierre will work for DeCoSEAS as a postdoctoral researcher on the digitization of PI Dana Rappoport’s Thrice Blooded Land multimedia corpus, and on the constitution of a critical repertoire of colonial French sound archives. Pierre will also help foster and extend dialogues between DeCoSEAS partners in various capacities. More information about Pierre can be found here.

Collaboration Citra Research Center and DeCoSEAS in Indonesian newspaper Kedaulatan Rakyat

On 24 May, DeCoSEAS partner dr. Citra Aryandari was interviewed for the Indonesian newspaper Kedaulatan Rakyat about the collaboration of Citra Research Center (CRC) with DeCoSEAS. CRC has already proposed tangible plans for the exposure to Indonesian communities of the sonic legacy of Jaap Kunst that is now located at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Outreach projects in collaboration with local (music) schools and communities are currently being prepared.

DeCoSEAS in Dutch national newspaper NRC

In February, project leaders meLê yamomo and Barbara Titus explained the aims and vision of DeCoSEAS in the Culture Section of the Dutch national newspaper NRC. Through their engagement with the Jaap Kunst Sound Collection, located at the University of Amsterdam, they touched on issues of ownership, extraction, accessibility and repatriation of archived sound material. The interview was flanked by some archived material from the collection, presented on the website of meLê yamomo’s NWO-funded project Sonic Entanglements. The interviews were conducted by NRC journalist Rahul Gandolahage. Pictures: Olivier Middendorp.

The full interview is accessible in Dutch.

The sound sample with commentary is available on the Sonic Entanglements website in Dutch and English.