Andrew Moon

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New School U.

Grant number

Gr. 9647

Approve Date

April 16, 2018

Project Title

Moon, Andrew, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Making the Archipelago Sound: An Ethnography of Environmental Observation in Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Hugh Raffles

Preliminary abstract: In Indonesia, ‘sound’ has long been designated as a scientific resource for observing the effects of climate and environmental transformation. In 1883, a volcanic eruption in West Java produced the ‘loudest sound ever recorded’ leading to the discovery of ‘infrasound’ as barometric pressure swelled around the world (Symonds, 1883). Today in Indonesia, ecologists map acoustic frequencies in locations vulnerable to deforestation, teams of engineers remotely listen to atmospheric activity, and geologists use sound to measure regional climate histories from deep within the earth. In each case, sound is made into information to model how conceptions of the environment and its history are determined. The objective of this project is to examine the shifting social and technical conditions of scientific knowledge production from sound. It does this by investigating how state and foreign-non-government earth scientists observe sound in the earth, atmosphere, and forest to understand what constitutes climate and environmental change. The project asks three questions: first, how is sound observed in the earth, atmosphere, and forest? Second, how are these observations made into scientific artifacts as evidence of climate and environmental change? And third, how do these practices to observe sound shape environmental science, history, and governance from a regional perspective?