The Embodied Voice 

In his text, The voice: Between Body and Language, Guy Rosolato speaks of a child’s cry as ‘an irradiation of its still rather immobile mass of flesh outwards into a far vaster space.’ The Voice: Between Body and Language in Phillips, Christopher, 1998, Voices, Rotterdam, p.108. This is the instinctual call from the vessel; the calling to the world.

‘…this feeling that you can talk on endlessly with any number of people and nothing of any significance will ever be said. And just a moment, even if nothing is said, where it seems suddenly that it’s possible, not just to speak your mind in an honest way – or to speak about ideas in a complex way – but to say something that you haven’t thought before, a kind of social interaction in which a space is opened up where, because of what other people are saying, suddenly you can say something that hasn’t occurred to you before. And even if you don’t, that’s the kind of rare, but I think essential, quality.’ (Emphasis added). Ritchie and Wren, (eds.), 1998,Talk, Public Journal, p.11.

It is this idea that through talking, through utterance, there is a formation of language, of making it your own, and finding your voice in the world that is of present interest. Locating or creating the social space in which this can occur is what Continuous Curatorial Conversations explores. The social space in which something new could occur, often prefaced by seemingly irrelevant, ramblings, digressions or anecdotes. It is a formative process where, and even when equipped with an arsenal of language (words and grammatical structure), ideas are formulated through the process of speaking out loud and to a receptive, cognisant other, and with that thoughts find form.

‘The close correspondence between the uses of the body, of language and no doubt also of time is due to the fact that it is essentially through bodily and linguistic disciplines and censorships, which often imply a temporal rule, that groups inculcated the virtues which are the transfigured form of their necessity, and to the fact that the “choices” constitutive of a relationship with the economic and social world are incorporated in the form of durable frames that are partly beyond the grasp of consciousness and will.’ (Emphasis added). Bourdieu, P., 1991, Language and Symbolic Power, Polity Press, p.89.

Within the body there is housed culture, heritage, memory, experience, language, and many other facets which when one opens one’s mouth the vocalisation carries the fingerprints of their presence.

‘The relation of voice to embodiment raises the question of aesthetics… It is a form of cognition, achieved through taste, touch, hearing, seeing, smell – the whole corporeal sensorium… We might then hear the voice as aesthetically bearing the marks of the body… that is, the voice is always/already written by the body.’ Neumark, N., 2010, Introduction: The Paradox of Voice, in Neumark, H., Gibson, R. and Van Leeuwen, T. (eds.), 2010, Voice: Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media, MIT Press, pp. xvi-xvii.

To extrapolate the voice from the body or vice versa would be to devalue the point of conception of the thought itself. Thus, to transcribe and remove the frailty/strength, the volume/silence, the accent/neutrality, the gender or emotive elements of the voice, flattened to the page, would do a disservice to the conversational exchange and the individuality of the participants. There are performative considerations when recording and replaying the voice, both at the point of conversation, and in the re-playing of the encounter.

 

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