Authoring Noise, Noising Authority: Loudness and Oratory in an East Javanese Family Gathering (2024)

Heikki Wilenius

About this exposition

In this article, Heikki Wilenius reexamines an initially disregarded field recording from a family meeting in East Java, Indonesia, to understand the interplay between loudness and authority. The focal point of the analysis is the presence of a massive sound system in the gathering and its impact on social interactions. Wilenius explores the oratorical practices within the context of the event and examines the different ways speakers attempt to speak in an authoritative manner. Additionally, he investigates the semiotics of noise, considering it not as a mere lack of structure but as a moment of interruption that can produce insights upon closer analysis. Wilenius argues that the loudness of oratory events in Java implies power but can also risk being perceived as empty rhetoric. He suggests that authority in Java has a semiotic ideology where refined, ignorable sounds can coexist with harsh, compelling ones. The article concludes that the materiality of the recording itself serves as an ethnographic object that resists assimilation into a cultural context, offering insights into the dynamics of authority at play. By embracing the "deficiencies" of the recording, Wilenius uncovers new dimensions of the ethnographic experience, proposing a methodology of repeated listening to reveal structures within seemingly arbitrary sounds.
typeresearch exposition
last modified11/03/2024
share statusprivate
copyrightHeikki Wilenius
licenseCC BY-NC-ND
published inJournal of Sonic Studies
portal issue25. Issue 25

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1700145 Gondanglegi-excerpt Heikki Wilenius CC BY-NC-SA
1701919 Excerpt Two. Heikki Wilenius CC BY-NC-SA
1701924 Excerpt One Heikki Wilenius CC BY-NC-SA
1701928 Excerpt Three Heikki Wilenius CC BY-NC-SA
1701939 Women's side Heikki Wilenius CC BY-NC-SA
1701941 VIP dais Heikki Wilenius CC BY-NC-SA
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