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Silence is a prevalent extinction topos that is not only multisensorial but also resonates in different concepts and modes of existence. This panel aims to reveal different qualities of silence and silencing and the related strategies of reverse-silencing in Indigenous and non-indigenous world(s).
Extinction is not only a phenomenon of silencing species, but also one that often happens silently itself, unnoticed by humans. When certain birds disappear, the declining richness in sound and biodiversity may go unheeded. For Indigenous societies dependent on animals for their livelihood, the silencing of animals intensifies dependence on governmental nutrition programs (e.g. in Brazil). Silence may thus serve as an indicator for losses in the perception of the environment.
Silences are perceived multisensorially and reflected in different concepts and/or modes of existence. A striking response to this phenomenon is reverse-silencing, in which people connect with and express (new) trans- and interspecific worlds, not only addressing losses, but also imagining futures that are non-silent, vivid, and - most importantly - that do not silence other beings. Among Indigenous strategies of reverse-silencing are interspecies communications with animals and other spirits by re-activating shamanic and other ritual forms (e.g. Guianas, Pemon). Silence in and of itself can hold hopes for the continuity of human and non-human world(s). The sudden quieting of humans during the Covid-19 lockdown, for example, gave way to imaginings of a world in which humans do not dominate the environment but rather hold back and share the space with others.
In this panel we would like to reflect on the process of extinction as a creeping silent threat that needs not only to be heard and articulated but also to be felt and expressed in various artistic forms. We welcome contributions that deal with silence, silencing, and reverse-silencing.