Accepted Paper:

Sonic strategies of trans-specific communication within Pemón multiverse (Gran Sabana/Venezuela)  


Matthias Lewy (Universidade de Brasilia)

Paper short abstract:

The focus is on sound interaction between humans and non-humans within Pemón multiverse. The multiverse will therefore be considered as well as the process of transformation of new appropriated agencies such as„Christian spirits“. All examples serve to discuss Amerindian perspectivism.

Paper long abstract:

The lecture refers to trans-specific communication within Pemón multiverse. The Pemón Amerindian Carib language group consists of the Arekuná, Kamarakoto and Taurepán people located on the borders between Venezuela, Guayana, and Brazil.

Trans-specific communication between humans through non-humans (animal/plants/spirits) is mostly characterized through sound interactions such as singing, chanting, dancing/sound production with dance skirts, use of musical instruments and so on. Firstly the different areas of the Pemón multiverse will be introduced as well as all kinds of sound production to attract specific agents. Therefor examples of the performance of the magic formulas tarén will be used, as well as some examples of marik (shaman songs, esp. for interaction with plant spirits) and parishara (hunter songs).

Secondly the transformation of ontologies will be shown. The example of the areruya ritual demonstrates strategies for contacting a new agency ("God" and his "Christian spirits/messengers") with known sound structures and its relativation through emotion management guided by the ritual leader, ipukenak.

The results will be contextualized in the discussions about animism and perspectivism.

Especially for the concept of Pemón perspectivism (applied from Viveiros de Castro) can be noticed that the difference of "seeing the worlds" is connected through the similarity of "hearing them".

Panel W049
Sonic beings? The ontologies of musical agency