Non-verbal communication and the “voice” of drums

“The garamut have two functions in this society. First, they are used to communicate between people through a code of beats, which enables the Reite to say things such as “the whiteman will come to eat banana in [a particular] hamlet tomorrow afternoon, as long as there is no rain” – this last sentence demands very good skills, but basically everyone is able to hear their own names when called by the slit-gongs. The second functions of the garamut is to “accompany the voices of water-dwelling spirits when the spirits are drawn to the village by men of the cult”[9], in other words to communicate with them. Besides, each spirit “is known by the unique tune of its voice, and by the unique beat which properly accompanies it””

Non human entities: cosmopolitics and modern politics

Non-verbal communication and the “voice” of drums
Understanding perissological resonators

Our inquiry on how non-human entities are made to speak now leads us to wonder about non-verbal communication. Speech is indeed not the only way to communicate, and alternative media used in rituals may be interesting to look at. Non-verbal communication can go both ways: from humans to non-humans, or from non-humans to humans. Bruno Latour proposed to take some facts as propositions, such as the “drip-drip” of melting glaciers warning about global warming. Pierre Lemonnier now proposes to consider that objects produce non-verbal statements and are great tools of communication.

A non-verbal statement can be defined as “the communication of an idea, position, mood or the like through something other than words”[1]. Tim Ingold insists on the idea that “objects might do what words alone cannot”[2] in the domain of ritual. Rituals indeed enjoy the necessity…

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