This presentation will engage with the Indonesian practice and viral phenomenon ‘Om Telolet Om’ in order to think through inventive quotidian sonic modes of social touch. ‘Om Telolet Om’ means, roughly translated, ‘Uncle Toot Your Horn Uncle’ and is a call made by different groups of people gathered on the archipelago’s streets requesting from passing bus drivers to sound their customized horns. The fleeting formations instantiated by these spontaneous performances of call and response are, I will be arguing, instances of fleeing hapticality which in turn form ephemeral and joyous, in Laura Harris’ terms, ‘motley crews and aesthetic sociality.’ Furthermore, as the call “Om Telolet Om’ moves virally as a meme it morphs into sonic/worded disruption to rational world wide web discourse as well as the rhythms of electronic dance music. Finally, this analysis of rallying and propelling disruptive sound as improvised performance and sociality, and the entanglements of communicability and paralinguistic non-sense, will bring to the fore quantum physics’ findings on touch as withdrawal, non-touch and friction: the animations of touching fleeing.
Hypatia Vourloumis is a performance theorist working across anticolonial, feminist, Black and queer studies; music, poetics, language; aesthetic theory and practice. She lives and works in Athens and also teaches critical theory at the Dutch Art Institute. She holds a PhD from the performance studies department at Tisch, NYU, publishes numerous articles in academic journals and art catalogues and is co-editor of the Performance Research issue on ‘Institutions.’ She is currently completing a book titled ‘Murmur Nation’ on Indonesian postcolonial paralinguistic performance.