Join us for a Public Lecture by Emily Howe on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 10:00am at MIRAGE Contemporary Art Space.
This event is hosted in conjunction with the Center for Khmer Studies and accompanies the exhibition "សូរស្រ្តី | Her Sounds", at MIRAGE (Her Sounds: Opening Night).
In this presentation, Emily Howe will first theorize the importance of sound and music as a means of documenting and understanding women’s lives, as well as cultural continuity and change across generations. She will then take listeners behind the scenes of the project’s genesis and production, sharing data and preliminary conclusions as well as challenges and pitfalls of the project. Finally, she will argue for the practical and theoretical potential of collaborative, public-oriented research projects such as "សូរស្រ្តី | Her Sounds."
Following the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition at MIRAGE Contemporary Art Space.
ABOUT "HER SOUNDS": The arts hold a complex position in the Cambodian imaginary. While on one hand often referred to as “the soul of Cambodia,” study of the arts is sometimes dismissed as akin to “kicking air,” emphasizing its impractical, artificial nature. For women artists, this dichotomy is complicated further by the widespread belief that to earn a living as musician or dancer is tantamount to selling one’s body. And so being a woman artist in Cambodia, as in many other contexts, requires particular courage, passion, and persistence.
And yet, despite these challenges, women artists in Cambodia fearlessly pursue their art every day, enhancing community life in significant but often under-acknowledged ways – and finding joy, solidarity, and strength in the process.
"សូរស្ត្រី | Her Sounds" is a collaborative multimedia research project and exhibition aiming to explore these tensions and dichotomies while celebrating the passion, persistence, and power of Cambodia’s women artists through image, sound, and story. Featuring artist portraits by photographer Neak Sophal and accompanying sound pieces created from interviews with ethnomusicologist Emily Howe, the exhibition constructs a living archive of the significant contributions women artists make to Cambodian society by documenting the perspectives of culture-bearers, innovators, and community artists spanning the nation and generations. Showcasing the artistry of traditional, classical, popular, and contemporary musicians and dancers while also illuminating the social significance of quotidian practices including social dance, ritual chant, and lullaby, the exhibition aims to spark dialogue about the art, lives, and dreams of Cambodian women past, present, and future.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Emily Howe is a CKS Senior Fellow and an American ethnomusicologist, music educator, and conductor who through her research and practice explores music and sound as a lens into global history and culture, as well as a means of catalyzing social change in diverse contexts. Currently a PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology at Boston University, Emily's dissertation examines the politics of development and social change in contemporary Cambodia through analysis of music and dance practices. Active as a conductor and music educator, Emily is passionate about working to make meaningful musical experiences accessible to all who might want them and has led ensembles and projects in schools, community music centers, prisons, and houses of worship in her hometown of Boston and around the world. Emily has authored publications, given presentations, and taught university courses on topics related to music education, choral music, and world music cultures, and she continues to explore issues related to global repertoires, performance, and identity in her scholarly and creative practice.