“The Koch Tape Collection from Kiribati: Emergence, Efficacies and Representations” (to be published in German in Baessler Archiv 69, 2022)

The focus of this study is the historical exploration of a collection of audio documents with songs and dance chants from the Gilbert Archipelago in the Central Pacific. It is primarily concerned with the conditions under which the tape collection was assembled by the museum anthropologist Gerd Koch and his wife as part of their wide-ranging written, visual, material, and acoustic documentation of the culture and way of life on the atolls of Tabiteuea, Nonouti, and Onotoa during 1963/64. The conceptualization of the tape collection as an assemblage aims to bring the heterogeneous association of actors involved and their distributed agency
into analytical focus. Here, a reconstruction of the influence of local actors from the respective island societies is of particular importance. The investigation of the contexts of emergence and efficacy specifies the possibilities and limitations that have shaped this archival tape collection in its present form. Koch’s representations, in turn, make clear his ambivalence towards the collection and point out why a comprehensive publication of the songs and dance chants was ultimately never realized.