Performing Voices and Bodies
University of Chicago
Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
The Performativity of Polyphony: Radio and Gendered Space in India
Ronit Ghosh (University of Chicago)
This paper probes the sonic mobilization of European musical harmony/polyphony in two iconic works of pre and post-partition Bengal (India), namely the legendary Bengali radio programme Mahishasurmardini (1931) and noted composer Salil Chowdhury’s groundbreaking song Surer Ei Jharna(1958). I argue that the industry-driven introduction of recorded polyphony within the popular imagination has crucial implications for the (re)constitution of the gendered ideology of the private sphere in Bengal post partition. The article attempts to bridge this gap by teasing out the affective sonic alliances forged by recorded polyphonic sound/music in the production of gendered space. The paper, thus, attempts to study a new grammar of listening as well as a sonic/musical simulation of space/community and identity inaugurated by the entry of radio in India. It argues that radio, especially during the initial years of the then Calcutta Radio Station, provides a platform within which gender-dichotomies are staged and eventually toppled to forge more contingent and hybrid notions of identity.
Ventriloquial bodies: Re-framing ephemerality in artists’ film & video
Claire Holdsworth (Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts of London)
This paper will consider the aural overlaps between feminist performance and artists’ moving image in London during the late -1970s and early- 1980s. The paper will explore the liminal (transformational, destabilising) dynamics of the sounded voice within these practices, and aims to shift canonised perception of the ‘disembodied voice’ in film/media studies (Chion, 1999; Silvermann, 1984). Taking-up Rebecca Schneider’s questioning of ephemerality and the archive in ‘Performance Remains’ (2001), discussion will unpack the 'ventriloquial' (Connor, 2000) dynamics of the voice, to consider the dual situation through which it both detaches from and reconnects to/with other subjects and objects. Unpacking the ‘defamiliar’ (Hayles, 2002) and ‘intermedial’ (Higgins, 1966) intersections between early performance, film and video practices, the nature of live and recorded voices will be considered with a focus upon the act of speaking as opposed to the medium -specific materiality of technologies. This paper tentatively posits an alternative positioning of the language associated with film/video/performance archives.
Acousmatic Foley: Sound-in-Scène
Sara Pinheiro (Bangor University)
“Acousmatic Foley” is a practice-based research on sound dramaturgy stemming from Musique Concrète and Foley Art. It proposes an approach to on designing, performing and listening to sound which emerges from both traditions. The aim of crossing over both fields allows to elaborate on a dramaturgy that is specific to sound. The theory is then summarised around three main concepts – sound-prop, sound-actor and sound-motif – as sonic storytellers. For this specific presentation, the focus will be on how these ‘storytellers’ are scripted in cinema. The idea is to bypass the common assessment of sound for film history, which usually focus on the technological developments or the parallel but consequential emergence of the talkies, in order to focus on sonic fiction. The presentation will also draw on the sonic conventions established along film-history; that is, the sonic events that were established as such by film history, as a film-sound commandment.
Retuning the Viscera. Ocean's Breath
Christina Lammer (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien)
In Ocean Breath, an audiovisual meditation, I combine images of the sea, breathing sounds and my voice. I contemplate on Gaston Bachelard’s essays Air and Dreams (1943) and Water and Dreams (1942). Bachelard compares imagination with a sound-effects man. Thus, it amplifies and softens. Hearing is more dramatic than seeing. I am breathing in the rhythms of the sea. Reconnecting with the elements. Floating in a warm liquid envelope. Being rocked by the waves of sound. We all will be cured.