David Robinson – The voice of the World: sonic ontologies in native California

23 March 2021 17 pm
Free online seminar 

WHO: David Robinson. University of Central Lancashire, UK

In this presentation a sketch of Native Californian concepts of sound, hearing, voice and ontology will be provided focussing on the polycultural region of South-Central California. A series of ethnographic accounts of the region are analyzed in order to understand how Native Californians perceived different forms of sounds as different kinds of agency. For instance, the use of bullroarers by the Chumash and detail experiments on the objects production of movement and sound will be considered. Equally recent Native Californian concepts of song and sound will be incorporated through David Robinson’s collaborative work with the Tejon Indian tribe. This has involved experimental work at the rock art sites of Pleito and Echo working with Jake Hernandez, a singer for the Tejon tribe, to consider the sonic possibilities of rock art and sonic agency. Finally, the talk will highlight the deep importance of the Native voice in the revitalisation of both rock-art and wider society. 

Full video