Panel #2

Performing Voices and Bodies

Ronit Ghosh

University of Chicago

Claire Holdsworth

Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Sara Pinheiro

Bangor University

Christina Lammer

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Monday - November 2nd
15:30 - 17:00 Playlist #2
17:00 - 18:00 Sound discussion #2
Channel 2

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.

Ronit Ghosh

Ronit Ghosh is pursuing a joint-PhD at the departments of South Asian Studies and Music at the University of Chicago, United States. His academic interests lie broadly in the fields of critical theory, media theory, sound studies and the philosophy of aesthetics. His previously published research has, among other things, addressed why the entry of specific techniques like musical harmony and reverb-technology has been co-eval with the entry of radiophonic listening in India. Larger concerns include exploring the media ecologies in India that not only shape but arguably form aural/musical communication in the 20th century. His research has been presented at international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals like the International Journal of Stereo and Immersive Media (2017), Sounding Out! (2017), Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (2017) and Journal of Sonic Studies (forthcoming 2020).

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.

Claire Holdsworth

Claire M. Holdsworth is an is an archivist, writer and curator based in London. Specialising in British artists’ moving image of the 1960s to 1990s, her research considers sound and the voice, using interviews and archives to explore artists and collectives working during this time. Currently an independent researcher, she previously worked in the Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP) research centre at London College of Communication and lectures at this and other colleges of the University of the Arts London, as well as the Royal College of Art and other art schools. She was previously an Early Career Research Fellow at Kingston School of Art (Kingston University London, 2016–18), completed an AHRC funded PhD at Central Saint Martins (UAL, 2016) and graduated from the MA in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University London.

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.

Sara Pinheiro

Sara Pinheiro is a sound-maker. She graduated in Cinema (Lisbon, 2008) and holds a Master of Music in Sonology (The Hague, 2012), where she is a guest lecturer. She has been part of the teaching committee at CAS–FAMU since 2013. Her academic work is practice-based research under the name of “Acousmatic Foley”. Currently she is a Phd student at The School of Music and Media, at the Bangor University, Uk, supported by Parry Williams Scholarship.

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.

Christina Lammer

Christina Lammer is a research sociologist, filmmaker and lecturer based in Vienna. Her work combines sensory ethnography with video, performance and body art in hospitals and clinics to focus on embodied emotion and sensory interaction between patients and physicians during the course of medical treatment. Her most recent books: Performing Surgery (2018), Moving Faces (2015), Anatomy Lessons (2013), edited together with Artur Zmijewski, and Empathography (2012, all Löcker Verlag, Vienna). Lammer holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Vienna.