Te Oro o te Ao: the Resounding of the World
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa Greetings, greetings, greetings to us all
This practice-led PhD is a situated Pacific response to international critical dialogues around materiality in the production and analysis of sonic arts. At the core of this project is the problem of what happens when questions asked in contexts of Pākehā knowledge frameworks are also asked within Māori knowledge frameworks. I trace personal genealogical links to Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Kahungunu iwi. Though my life experience and other bloodlines are predominately those of an urban Pākehā (NZ European). The works of Māori Marsden, Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, Mere Roberts and Carl Mika are important sources in this context, as are linguistic and philosophical discussions with Māori mentors. I engage Pākehā ecologies of Gregory Bateson, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, among others, in conversation with Maori epistemologies, through the framework of whakapapa. In doing so, I bring together different worldviews and listening practices in order to ask what a sonic ecology might perform in the context of the earth and its ecologies.
In considering the role of sonic practices in listening to the earth, multiple knowledge frameworks are sought and activated as processual sound explorations. Forces, intensities and becoming are viewed in relation to how a thinking and questioning being encounters a threshold of sense. Immanence, vital material becomings, and aesthetics of affect are inherent to this critical path. I propose that we think with technology to transform what is known to what could be possible, to access different ways of knowing and remembering. Te Oro o te Ao engages listening at the threshold of the audible and the inaudible, encompassing spaces and ideas that surround frequencies. The Māori performative criteria of ihi—in this context, the intrinsic power of an event that draws a response from an audience, along with wehi—the reaction from an audience to this intrinsic power, and wana—the aura that occurs during a performance that encompasses both performer and audience, contribute to a series of sound events that aim at evocation or affect rather than interpretable narratives, stories or closed meanings.
The final outcome of this research is realised as a sound installation, an exegesis and a 12” vinyl LP. Together these sound practices form a research-led practice document that demonstrates how and why listening to the earth matters, and proposes a multi-knowledge framework for understanding sound, space and environment.
Nō reira And so Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa Greetings, greetings, greetings to us all