[-empyre-] Alan's post: voices, gender and other matters

HI Alan

Thanks for yr rapid post! Your work at the E poetry conference sounds
fascinating (I'm so sorry I missed it) and I was particularly interested in
the combination of real time and pre-prepared strategies you used, and the
kinds of unexpected transformations, echos and cross-overs which seemed to

What really fascinates me about interrogating the gender of the voice
through sampling and other forms of technological manipulation is the way
you can explore the whole continuum from male to female so that you can
arrive at voices which sound intersex, or at least sound neither completely
male not female. I have found theorists like Butler and Kosofsky Sedwick
very good for theorising this, because they explore the way that that
sexual identity, gender construction and sexual orientation consist of
multiple configurations which are suppressed in binary oppositions such as
man/woman, homosexual /heterosexual or sex/gender. I have tended to find a
lot of theorising about voice in gender or film studies not as relevant as
you might hope,  because they don't usually talk  about the kind of sonic
landscapes and sonic transformations which impel me, though I would be
interested in any references to work that you think might be particularly
relevant.   It's also maddening how many 'performance and gender' theorists
talk about the body but hardly mention the voice!!

I don't know I have used voiceovers in quite the way that you probably
mean, but I have extensively used multi-tracking of the voice, done
multi-layered improvisations in which I dialogued with myself and
progressively built up the improvisation in multiple layers, and used a
delay system to similar effect.  I would be interested to her more about
your work in this area.

There is certainly a lot more that could be said  about all this but for
the moment in haste and with thanks


Alan said

What you say about continuums male/female and chracteristics exchange
(synaesthesia I think as well?) is of great interest to me. Most of my
live work at this point involves laptop performance, in which several
modalities conflict and cohere - at the E-Poetry conference, I used
electric guitar, quicktime movies, improvisational typing, text-based
movies, etc. I'm aware, while working, of semantic tracks that cross
modalities; something might begin, for example, in speech from one or
another quicktime, only to be echoed in improvised text. My own role
involves both static and dynamic production - i.e. the playing of audio or
video or textual work in combination with instrumental sound and type.

I do know for the audience there's a jump; one performance in Toronto was
reviewed, and the reviewer said he made more sense of it with his eyes
closed. So at least some pick a track and stay there.

For myself, everything enters the soup, so to speak - the problem isn't
dissemination, but attempting to keep things under control. I'm worried
about going too much in a baroque direction, adding and adding; at this
point, I'm tending to subtract.

Have you worked with voiceover at all - or voiceunder? There has been a
lot of theorizing of the role of the female voice (Kaja Silverman for
example) in film and other production -

Hope this is to the point - otherwise, please ignore -


Dr. Hazel Smith
Senior Research Fellow
School of Creative Communication
Deputy Director
University of Canberra Centre for Writing
Editor of Inflect http://www.ce.canberra.edu.au/inflect
University of Canberra
ACT 2601
phone 6201 5940
More about my creative work at

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