Accepted Paper:

The Sonics of Sovereignty ...  
Thomas Dick (Further Arts)Jason McLeod (University of Sydney)

Paper short abstract:

Remembering the Byak massacre, celebrating survival, and understanding these entanglements through embodied sonic expression.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation will reflect on a recent engagement with survivors (and supporters of survivors) of the 1998 Byak massacre in West Papua. In May of 2018, a team of activists, musicians, storytellers, producers, and researchers (from West Papua, Vanuatu, Australia, Tonga, France, and the Solomon Islands) were invited to Vanuatu. The intention was to record stories and songs of survival, with a particular focus on amplifying the agency of a collective testimony that was created in 2013 for the Citizens Tribunal for the 15th Anniversary of the Biak Massacre

The team spent six days singing, telling stories, dancing, and remembering ... in a powerful process enabling the conditions for beauty and creativity to emerge. The recording was challenging on both creative and technical levels. The content of the recording - remembering the Byak massacre, and celebrating survival - creates an intense emotional field. Many tears were shed and shared, both inside and outside the studio.

This presentation will focus on an intimate interview, conducted across four languages, involving a survivor and a West Papuan musician. Insights from the participants will be interwoven with some of the highlights of the broader process, such as the way that the other artists and musicians (ni-Vanuatu, Australian, Tongan) were moved in such embodied ways.

Panel P27
Surviving entanglements in West Papua [Combined format]