Field Recording
Temporary Stored


Temporary Stored

Not only masks and sculptures were stolen from Africa during the colonial period. Sounds also did not find their way into European museums without
being forced. Joseph Kamaru explores the audio archive of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium.

Temporary Stored
An ongoing extraction of cultural property has occurred in colonies outside Europe leading to the objectification of artifacts, humans, tools, sounds, instruments amongst other materials. This harboring of the objects in museums and institutions is unethical and problematic as the so-called objects’ are not regarded as objects in an African context. These are historical carriers, spiritual beings, and cultural entities that have been passed
over generations and are meant to be learned from and act as reflections of past and future histories. Although these histories are not accessible to whom they belong to and impetus imagined histories of the past. The occident has accumulated most of these archives and continuously reproduces a
colonial pattern in this discourse. Considering suppositions proposed by Bonaventur Ndikung, and Kofi Agawu on the archive, [Temporary Stored] questions and reflects on the significance of these sounds, objects, and instruments stored in ethnological museums. These museums and institutions have acquired objects through dubious conditions such as looting, theft, greed, and naivety of sellers, in the spirit of predator capitalism outside former colonies of Europe, eradicating histories, norms, and practices of these communities and countries. Additionally, with the fact that most of the archives
have been contextualized from a European bias and an institutional ordering of knowledge, the presentation, descriptions of the sounds and objects often lose the relationship with their/ its inhabitants as the focus has been put primarily on the object and sound’ materialities leaving other significances of the archives. Temporary Stored] focuses on a narrative throughout different sounds from the Sound Archive of Royal Museum of Central Africa repatriated in 2021 and reconfigured in an emancipatory sonic hearing of the archive through a radiophonic sounds piece.

source of recordings: DEKKMMA /  Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA)

-The restitution of stolen art objects is causing heated debates in the European museum landscape. However, the question of how to deal with immaterial heritage is just as pressing. For the sound artist Joseph Kamaru, sounds play a central role: Passed down from generation to generation, they create a connection between the past and the future.

In Temporary Stored Kamaru questions the importance of sound archives for the history of colonial violence. Using synthesizer sounds, field recordings and recordings from the archives of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, he is working on re-appropriating the stolen sounds.-

- Special thanks to: Rémy Jadinon,  Derek Debru, Daisuke Ishida, Jessica Ekomane, Marcus Gamme, UDK SoundS , Royal Museum for Central Africa , DEKKMMA, Deutschlandfunk Kultur. The Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR).

Temporary Stored - Limited Edition Cassette


There is alot of talk today aboubt the return of the innumerable works of art in Western Museums - particularly those in museums of primitive arts - to their countries of origin. African countries in particular claim as an integral part of their own cultural heritage the statues and other artefacts that have  been taken from their natural surroundings, often by force and in the context of colonial violence. And yet this legitimate claim only applies to tangible heritage. It does not apply to the intangible heritage, by its nature, could not be looted, extorted, exported for exhibition in metropolitan museums, or integrated into the supposedly inalienable heritage of the colonial powers.

paulin J Hountondji 


KMRU “MR2” (Self-released)

The fate of physical artifacts taken from colonized lands and peoples has been the source of endless debate, but what about immaterial artifacts? On Temporary Stored, a new work KMRU is currently offering as a name-your-price release on Bandcamp, the Kenyan producer openly ponders that question, pulling from the sound archive of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium to create meditative gems like “MR2.” A stirringly tense composition, it blends digital dirge with snippets of dramatic vocalizations and what sounds like the incessant scraping of a shovel plunging into the earth, unearthing (a frankly ugly) history in the process.

Field Notes
Releases of the month July

Joseph Kamaru or KMRU, who is also represented on "Sounds of Absence" with one piece, on the other hand, uses the album "Temporary Stored" for critical intervention regarding appropriation, archiving and museumization, is also called commodification, the artifacts of earlier colonies by institutions of the global north. For this purpose, he works with the sound archive of the Royal Museum of Central Africa and understands the sounds used as connecting lines between different generations or the past and the future. Thus, the six individual pieces as well as the 50-minute radiophonic pieces represent equally actively practiced historical criticism as they themselves question the conditions of historiography as such.


KMRU’s reconception of what found-sound creations and exploratory music could convey continued on one of his most striking and passionate releases, 2022’s Temporary Stored. Conceived as a extension of the continuing cause of reclaiming art and archival holdings back to Africa from western museums, Temporary Stored is split between six shorter pieces and a nearly hour-long one, with KMRU combining performances on newly repatriated instruments, speech and discussion samples and deep synthesizer work to create an involving call to action.


Joseph Kamaru
Stored? (2022) - wip
safes, tapes, prints, keys


CTM 2023: The Time for Denial Is Over 

Photos by : Frankie Casillo / CTM Festival 2023