Dr. Yannis Kozantzas (GR) – Research Fellow (Theoretical Archaeology and Anthropology of Technology, Panteion University of Athens)
Sound runs across people, things and space. Sound becomes voice and voice becomes spoken language which renders meanings explicit and intervenes in human practical life. Communication is an act which both presupposes and generates community-being, i.e. a process of co-forming and transforming communities. What is spoken is a meaning. Voices reproduce, disseminate and transform meanings, but meanings as such inhere not in voices, but first and foremost in material social practices, mediated by and configured in landscapes, settled spaces, human bodies and production of material culture objects. If we thus want to grasp the essence of communication, it is rather necessary to go beyond voice and verbalisation, to go back to those spheres of social life, where meaning is materially and practically produced. Styles and forms of material culture objects, technological choices in material production, food preparation and consumption habits, housing patterns in a humanly transformed, settled landscape as well as ways of manipulating human body and shaping individuality and personhood through living interactions and mortuary practices reveal an illimitable universe of meanings, tacit verbalisations and silent languages which go across the totality of human existence. Archaeological and ethnographic evidence has reshaped our contemporary understanding of how communities develop their communication mechanisms through social practices of participating engagement and material transformation. Space, bodies and things become essential participants in social processes which generate meaning and communication, memory and identity, values and social representations, exhortations and prohibitions in a human-nature entangled world.