Hunter Gatherer Research

Sound artefacts

Recreating and reconnecting the sound of the !goin !goin with the southern San Bushmen and bees

Hunter Gatherer Research (2018), 3, (2), 187–226.

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Bees and honey were highly regarded by the |xam Bushmen. This article explores communication interference with reference to vibroacoustics and the |xam claim that they used the !goin !goin (bullroarer) to manipulate bees. Positioning their claim within the field of mimesis opens an investigation into aspects of control, possession, taming and influence, as summarised by the |xam in their concept of |ki. Firstly, it was necessary to recuperate the sound of the !goin !goin and reproduce it accurately based on information in the ethnographic and musical archives. Secondly, examples of rock paintings and engravings are examined for evidence of vibroacoustics plus consideration is given to honey and bees and how they are presented in |xam mythology and storytelling (kukummi). The evidence suggests that the !goin !goin emerges from a predisposition that is vibroacoustically-sensitive and in flux with the experiential domains of sound, vibration and colour. Finally, the article claims that the purposeful use of the instrument substantiates an ontology that is variously described as listening disposition, sound thinking and syntony.

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Author details

Rusch, Neil