Another Abstract for the Books - SEM annual conference 2016

One of the odd things about writing a dissertation is the silence after dropping its heft into the world. 

Hours upon hours of time, months of a life, tears and sweat and fear and passion all meet in this massive undertaking and finally, its done, submitted, and... silence. A breath of air and a stillness. Grades come back for it, there is graduation, but usually, the world remains undisturbed by the magnitude of the work, and life goes on. 

Not to say that writing isn't worth it, nor to say that a dissertation isn't a worthwhile pursuit, but just to say that often, they languish. Thankfully, I had a proposal accepted by the Society for Ethnomusicology's annual conference, based on my dissertation work, so I'll be breathing some new life into my writing and presenting! Light, air, conversation... it's alive again! 

My abstract is here, and if you are interested in reading the whole paper, let me know. As always, apologies for the academic speak. Code switching once more! 

"Sarimanok and the iPhone Camera

Performance of “folkloric” dance and music can be viewed through a number of lenses - nostalgic, fetishistic, canonical, preservative, appropriative - but rarely does our understanding of it step beyond those boundaries.

Specifically, how are we to understand folkloric performance one or more generations removed from their “source” and yet both evolving and deeply linked to its country and cultures of origin? How do we decenter our understanding of “authenticity” of movement in light of both diaspora and electronic media?

Through research with a Filipino folkloric music and dance troupe based in San Francisco, I challenge the boundaries of understanding folkloric performance and move beyond an appropriative or preservative framework to one rooted in collaborative, de-centered exchange. I investigate specifically the video-based exchange between the San Francisco-based FilipinoAmerican dance/music troupe and its indigenous Filipino interlocutors still living in the Philippines and the role these video exchanges play as site for communication, permission- and right-granting, and verification.

Using Arjun Appadurai’s theory of rupture and resultant exploration of the “work of the imagination” as a key feature of modern subjectivity, I explore the role of catalyst this transpacific media exchange plays in the development of an embodied visual repertoire of Filipino-ness imbued with a recognition of the diversity, multiplicity, and un-bordered nature of the Filipino diaspora’s identities as well as indigenous Filipino performers’ desires for authenticity and understanding.

I argue that through an examination of the troupe’s video-based interactive-creative process, we see dance and music at work as a mediative ground on which Filipino-Americans and their indigenous Filipino interlocutors/instructors can co-create a new canon of dance and music that is at once resonant and “true” within indigenous Filipino communities and the FilipinoAmerican diaspora, resulting in performance based on mutuality and recognition of heritage and resisting the often strict boundaries placed around tradition and authenticity." 

And if you find me at SEM 2016, pour me a glass of wine post-presentation. I'll need it!