This page covers an area of scholarship in which Rumrill has engaged sporadically over the years, related to the study of what has come to be known as Li-ism, a quasi-religious movement with particular musical and improvisatory practices of interest scholars in the fields of performance studies, ethnomusicology, linguistics, and beyond. As professor Liliana Carrizo notes in her seminal A Tape for the End of the World,
To begin with, it’s hard to know what to call the particular phenomenon I’m going to describe here. Herein, I will use Li-ism, and call its practitioners Li-ists. I do so knowing that this naming was not the convention of the followers of this… what? Cult? Religion? Movement? Conspiracy theory? Yet the figure of Lia is one of the few consistent, documented and discernible tenets of Li-ism. So, to avoid the constant need to reinvestigate the ambiguities of the phenomenon, Li-ism is the shorthand I will use, as do many other self-described Li-ist scholars.
Her full article can be found here, and is well worth the read:
It is worth also exploring these excerpts from a lecture-recital given by Li-ist practitioner Juna Toksöz Winston, aided by Rumrill, which can be viewed here:
Juna Toksöz Winston drives across the landscape tuned into radio static, hunting the ephemeral traces of a long-abandoned cult of sonic worshippers whose pirate transmissions are the fabric of legends. Decades after their storied feats of eco-terrorism, Li-ists have drifted from the front pages of newspapers to the footnotes of academic dissertations, having become the reluctant subject of study for a small community of scholars invested in their eschatological lamentations.
Having discovered the lingering reverberations of their famous pirate broadcasts, Toksöz Winston seeks to single-handedly reignite their tradition of aimless pilgrimage, invoking the spirit of the Li-ists’ great caravans of sonic occultists, driving across the countryside eschewing language in favor of feverishly improvised acid jazz jams. Alone with his self-built hybrid instrument (the Curdlephone, bridging brass and woodwind organologies), Toksöz Winston performs alongside the intermittent interjections of these extant transmissions, calling them forth from some combination of the land’s sonic memory and his own obsessive imagination.