Saturday, 21 May 2011

Kill the darling part 5: the voice was dead anyway

This is going to hurt. A small but still to me nice footnote about the intertwinings of the imaginaries of the dead (voice) as part of the phonographic culture and psychoanalytic readings of the haunted voice. Well, if it was dead anyway, better let it go.

A footnote from what will be chapter III on Imaginary Media:

Actually, it’s not the people that are alive, but the fragments made possible by technical media. Voice is in itself an interesting special case due to its historical relation to death and the uncanny through the technical recording of meticulous accuracy (“vocal vibrations of air waves” as the above-mentioned Scientific American story explains) that was much awed at in the early reports from 1870s onwards as well as in theoretical sense. Mladen Dolar’s (2006) work on the uncannyness of the voice is masterful in how it outlines how the voice always has a possessive, excessive and haunting quality that questions the solidity of body boundaries. The voice seems to have a relation to the body, but we do not own our voices. With speech synthesis technologies, voice becomes furthermore detached from the human organic bodies, inhabiting a further uncanny quality of the dislocated voice as addressed by the sound artist Paul DeMarinis (2010: 212): “The voice, once it is taken away from the body and reconstituted as a being without corporeal substance, without status or place, without viewpoint, without the fleshy vulnerability a bared throat offers, is re-incarnated as a new clarified being. Perhaps a voice of authority, or an oracle that can speak from beyond the grave. It gives us deliriously false confidence, this chest resonance without chest, these nasals without nose, plosives without lips or tongue, this singer of songs-without-throats.”

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