Monday, 28 January 2013

Tai Shani- Untitled/Headless

Check out this piece by Tai Shani... it was at Matt's Gallery this past fall at it combines the voice over in an interesting way with lenticular photographs.

Mother as Chimera

"... fetal stem cells are tenacious things. They stay in the body of the mother, and have even been shown to slip into that sacred space where we believe that all of human individuality resides; the brain. It's possible that part of every mother's brain literally is that of her child. And if you're a child, it's likely that part of you is your mother. A mother's cells cross the placenta during pregnancy and squat in the liver, bloodstream, thymus gland, and that old sentimental favorite, the heart."

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Lip Synching - Southland Tales - Timberlake/Killers

I'm a little pre-occupied with this film and Shaviro's excellent commentary on it. I won't talk about the post-cinematic - flat ontology aspects, Shaviro has that down.... but listening to Freya Jarman speak last night it occurred to me that this scene accommodates all 3 queer lip-synching types...... that it does not sit squarely in just one, but, oddly, across all 3.....

Jarman talked of the types of lip-synching and identification modes that evoke either abject, queer or comic effects. These were:

1 - Identification - see Bridget Jones
2 - Identity Play - see this below (just too good not to embed)


3 'Worn'  - see Gael Garcia Bernal

As I understand the three types, or as I interpret them, I see three things.

The first is strictly intensive. Identification is an acutely internal operation - the identification with the voice, becoming an other, transforming - is all turned inwards. Any animation, is for the lip-syncher to convince their own mind that they are the singer - that it is their voice. Bridget enacts the singer to convince her self she is is the singer, her eyes are closed so she doesn't see the familiar site of her room. It is a form of escapism.

Identity play is similar but turned inside out. The character Will Smith plays cannot tell his uncle how he feels in his words - in his identity. So the way to do this is to take on another identity. However, the process is not focused on merely an internal identification transformation but importantly on a hyper-reflexive identity projection. It is not just the sonic words that are not his body is given over to the singer - he splays his fingers suggestively over his body, he struts and pouts like a diva in a way his character never would ordinarily. This is all to project another identity.

'Worn' is similar again, in that the crux of identity shift lies in the body, the physical body. But because Gael Garcia Bernal is in drag (an almost uber-drag, a dragX2 - with a dress that actually depicts a womans body) he can leave his eyes open, stay still and lip synch the words. He doesn't need to close his eyes and become the singer, he doesn't need to strut and pout to convince his listener/audience because all the visible aspects of identity in regard to his body are already in hand - they are transformed by the dress, the wig and his make-up.

I feel these 3 degrees of identity adoption - intensive/internally focused, extensive/reflexive and aesthetic/worn/prosthetic are degrees of manifestations of the vocalic body. To summarise briefly one could say the vocalic body is the imaginary body a voice has in its sound, in its grain. As Connor comments:

"What kind of thing is a vocalic body? What sort of vocalic bodies are there? Such bodies are not fixed and finite, nor are they summarizable in the form of a typology, precisely because they are always able to imagine and enact new forms of voice body. The leading characteristic of the voice-body is to be a body-in-invention, an impossible, imaginary body in the course of being found and formed."

This is, perhaps, where the oddness in finally hearing David Beckham's voice or Elizabeth Hurley's voice arrives - from the difference between a famous, appreciated body - and a sonic sound with it's own - autonomous corporeality. As Connor comments:

".voice then conjures for itself a different kind of body; an imaginary body which may contradict, compete with, replace or even reshape the actual, visible body of the speaker"

Syles of lip-synching are, perhaps, modes of the vocalic body manifesting either internally for type 1 or externally in types 2 and 3. It is this triplet of identity shifting operations that I feel are all present in the Justin Timberlake / The Killers lip synch music video scene in Kelly's Southland Tales. It is an internal scene first, Private Abilene is high on fluid karma and hallucinating, he is escaping from himself - the diegetic is already in his head, we are seeing how he sees his present identity under the influence of a drug. But the body extensive is also shown to the viewer within this intensive diegetic, he struts like a rock star should - by seeing his intensive imagining, his internal identity shift we see a simultaneous manifestation of types 1 and 2. We know it's all in his mind and yet we still see that his body is dancing in all the right ways. The third aspect, the 'worn', is manifested in the acting as coat approach to celebrities portraying characters. We know that it is Justin Timberlake (just as Dwayne Johnson is always acting Dwayne Johnson - case in point, check out the Johnny Depp finger acting in almost every scene! Avatars of playing acting.), we cannot forget this, it is futile to think we can ever really detach such a celebrity from a film, his celebrity is always bigger than the film. So Kelly directs him to wear a character, he wears a scar and a bloodied t-shirt so we know it is Justin-Timberlake-in-a-film instead of Justin Timberlake. This feels similar to the Gael Garcia Bernal drag act in Bad Education, we know it is the character underneath the clothes, but the appearance, doubled with the voice means that even though we know who it is we know that they expect us to accept that they are not in their usual identity.

[01] 1+9=10 | 0+9=9 || 10+9=19

Every utterance we make is an impeded stutter, a malfunction, a glitch. Every time we shriek or howl, every time we express reason, interject or propose, every time we vocalize an order, an instruction, or snap back a refusal or a counter argument we are doing so via a system born of violence. We are the croaking possessed; emitting tics, clicks, glitches, whirrs and morbidly rattling breaths of affect. We were mutilated till we spoke:

“the muttering sickness leaped into our throats, coughing and spitting in the silver morning. (…) dumb animal eyes on ‘me’ brought the sickness from white time caves frozen in my throat to hatch in the warm streamlands spitting. (…) Sick apes spitting blood bubbling throats torn with the talk sickness. Human faces tentative flicking in an out of focus. We waded into the warm mud-water, hair and ape flesh off in screaming strips. Stood naked human bodies covered with phosphorescent green jelly. Soft tentative flesh cut with ape wounds. Fingers and tongues rubbing off the jelly-cover. Body melting pleasure-sounds in the warm mud. Till the sun went and a blue wind of silence touched human faces and hair. When we came out we had names”

But even despite this visceral tragedy of linguistic progress, hidden forces still haunt the territories between our languishing origin and mechanized destination; deformed animalistic spectres often stalk the arena of tortured cries, but they haunt talk too. For despite our physical perversions – our own twisted contortions into the spluttering jackhammer of logos and language - we cannot shake off the past, we cannot shed our flesh, our knuckles are still scarred from our previous life – this life before the head -smash.

We bent our spines, cracked our thorax, dropped our larynx and then smothered our howls and gagged our screams. But we still cannot transform all the phlegm, bile, blood, saliva and vapor into zeros and ones, order and disorder, positive and negatives, clicks and cuts. In our coded parlance, of chittering teeth, lisping protocols and phoneme processes we may still wretch and howl through our phylogenetically makeshift apparatus – our fathers injuries - paleotrauma; after formatting there is a strange ancestral remnant.

We may find a rogue sonic, an outcast grain, there is something outside the code – a cthulhu com set glimpsed in rogue noise. Echoing in the order we find an ethereal qubit.

The more we bind ourselves to the rotting cadaver of logos, the more we breath in digits, and voice ourselves through our fingers, the more we blacken ourselves and become one, a la nupta cadavera the more we may find potentialities and possibilities of ourselves and past selves.

There are histories of disfigurement behind our current jabbering, language was a vociferous virus, voice a morbid curse. To find the vital being before the punishment of talking took its toll -before the differing rope burns of logos lacerated our throats- we must first talk more, faster, in numbers, jibber in code till we talk disjointedly and erratically (erotic era esoterix via error error error). We can numb(er) our language pains, emancipate ourselves from this brutal regime, escape one code and find salvation in another. Spiraling Tic-Talking between ancient and infinite codes. Voicing syzygy…… till 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025, 121393, 196418, 317811, 514229, 832040

As Professor Barker explains

“Due to erect posture the head has been twisted around, shattering the vertebra-perceptual linearity and setting the phylogenetic preconditions for the face. This right-angled pneumatic-oral arrangement produces the vocal-apparatus as a crash site, in which the thoracic impulses collide with the roof of the mouth. The pipedal head becomes a virtual speech impediment, a sub-cranial pneumatic pile-up, discharged as linguo-gestural development and cephalization take-off. Burroughs suggests the protohuman ape was dragged through its body to expire on its tongue. It’s a twin-axial system, howls and clicks, reciprocally articulated as a vowel-consonant phonetic palette, rigidly intersegmented to repress staccato-hiss continuous variation and its attendant becomings animal. That’s why stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are so laden with biopolitical intensity – they threaten to bypass the anthropostructural head-smash that establishes our identity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers”

Barker’s understanding of the potential to numerically re-discover our pre-logos essence within the possibilities in the gaps, cracks, ruptures and hemorrhages of formatting is, I would say, a form of accelerationist positivism. But the formulation feels similar to Barthesian grain – that behind, in and inbetween the current language there is something older, truer…..and it is in these gaps – in exploring these gaps that potential is generated. Automalumizing, auto-asphysiating – electro-trauma vo-coding is the path.

If, in voice, there is a history of repression, mutilation- then to contemplate any emancipatory automalum we must first examine the socio-politcal scars of our voco-political encoding. We must look back, relish the ticks, map out the pheno-song from the geno-song, first, before escaping in the direction of numbers.

“Suborganizational pattern is where things really happen. When you strip-out all the sedimented redundancy from the side of the investigation itself - the assumption of intentionality, subjectivity, interpretability, structure, etc - what remains are assemblies of functionally interconnected microstimulus, or tic-systems: coincidental information deposits, seismocryptions, suborganic quasireplicators (Echo-DNA, ionizing nanopopulations), plus the macromachineries of their suppression, or depotentiation.”

These efforts are already well underway….In algorhythms, global cybernetix networx and rhythmic shifts independent from language or geologies. In music…

There is a process of formula flaying. A rhythmic carnage…. Synthesizing and streaming screaming strips of old code – V.2. Vocal vivisection to suture cthulhu to the future…..

The violence of verbal automalumizing coding itself is overtaken, by a new code, a machinic, cyborg virus – a portal to plotting both spirals. The cthulhu coms kernel or post cyborgization digital epiphany. A negotiation across geotrauma, the talk sickness of walking apes, from before to after.

Through syncope, cutting and scratching the injury of voice is broken – harmed - once more and a new code is plotted, extrapolated. An unseen rhythm. The ghostly, subconscious, subliminal voice that sings and raps between the violence logic of chops, cuts and beats is a new voice. A voice born of the relations between absence and presence – between two different spirals - syzygetic voice. This new voice, fragmented and fleeting is as much a set of chronosensitive relations as it is ‘old language’ - these relations have enormously complex implications and need to be excavated further. It is between the two spirals in the Barker spiral system that a profound syzygy exists, heard on record as strange looped coincidences and odd doublings….

Monday, 21 January 2013

rubbadub dub a dubbed Dybbuk box-office dibbouk

....rubbadub dub a dubbed Dybbuk box-office dibbouk has all the eating, voice horror/ possession horror tropes you could shake a bottle of faux-holy water at. You could see this as a film about puberty, fearing change, vocal change, bodily change etc. But I'd also like to think of the dybbuk box (which in this is film is spliced with the old pandora's box myth to some degree) as an avatar for the shiny little boxes of friends, spirits and voices that kids carry around all day.... the power of the little box becoming their friend before possessing them entirely and taking over their lives.... Anyhow, fun flick, and if you don't fancy hearing Mercedes Cambridge's roars of "Merrin!!!"this is a lighter substitute - it even has some scenes taken directly from Friedkin's classic (the MRSI, is a direct rip - with a pseudo subliminal face emerging to boot).

I'd like to think about the Yampolsky text and this film along with a Michael Jackson/Prince story.    The version presented in the Spike Lee "Bad" documentary tells of how MJ got spooked when Prince brought a voodoo box along to their first meeting - and that is why their collaborative single never quite happened. That is all I know, its a story of hearsay. But I'd like to think it, the box that spooked MJ, was a dybbuk box - a box harbouring a spirit from outside, a change, a possession - a vocal change. Everything that, people say, Michael Jackson (peter pan) was deeply averse to. Prince brought along a box containing the unnerving prospect of uncontrollable physical and vocal change. As one comment in the documentary mentions, MJ had a massive vocal range and would answer the phone in a gruff 'regular' voice - when asked why he doesn't talk like that more often, or sing using his lower vocal range, he replied that he just preferred the other way. MJ spent his life controlling his voice and his body (through gravity defying dance moves, or plastic surgery) - and so he would've had the most to lose, the most voice to lose, the most body to lose, the most control to relinquish, the most reasons for fearing the box that was brought to the meeting.... The Prince's dybbuk box scared The King of Pop away.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Berberian Sound Studio

Peter Strickland's film, Berberian Sound Studio, is pretty relevant to lots of discussions in AVC and ties in nicely with the Mikhail Yampolsky essay.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Judy vs. Carrie

Hello All!

After the Silverman seminar yesterday here are a couple of things...

Link to the recordings of the 'Her Noise' conference at Tate, as mentioned by Nicola.

Also, if you haven't seen these works by Oriana Fox before they might be of interest. Taking the voices from the 90s Sex and the City TV series, Fox re-enacts these through characters of an essential 70s Feminism. Rather than the piece working to be dismissive of one 'Feminism' in favour of the other, through the overlaying of voice it comments upon the conversation between different Feminisms. As Oriana enacts all the characters herself, it also links to the idea of being a 'Fan of Feminism' as discussed by Catherine Grant in her article 'Fans of Feminism: Re-writing Histories of Second-wave Feminism in Contemporary Art.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

AGF - Source Voice

Thanks to Alastair at Eleusinian Press for sending me this wire news article

from the Line Imprint site:

"The voice is the human instrument. Almost everyone has a voice, unique and custom built within them. A voice is personal, political and controllable. Some voices are heard more than others. In expanding the meaning of voice, listening to and deconstructing it, we learn about our body, our kind. We grow and gain awareness through this process.

Composing in a unique way with her voice makes AGF’s work a way to consider humanity. On Source Voice, all sounds are derived from artist’s voice and the room around her. The collaboration with Richard Chartier’s LINE label is based on mutual admiration and follows the aesthetics of minimalism. Source Voice is the second LINE SEGMENTS release.

Inspired by the ancient folk practice of yoik, AGF started to imitate and voice along with her surrounding wind and weather. Yoik is a mostly wordless form of singing/vocalization by the Sami tribe of northern Scandinavia and considered one of the longest living music traditions in Europe.

Through her careful study and work with pioneering composer Eliane Radigue for the past 10 years, AGF further experiments with highly contained and organized sound in the wide field of vocal expression. AGF has worked with Radigue while performing Elemental 3 as The Lappetites, and has now created OCCAM 7, a new composition by Radigue for solo voice.

While only the composition “Kaamos” is pure untreated voice, digital processing was used to bend our imagination of what our voice is and can become."