[-empyre-] incompatible research practices - week 02 - performing revolutions // noise and gossip

Gabriel Menotti gabriel.menotti at gmail.com
Wed Feb 15 02:22:42 EST 2012


> I have also been interested in the treatment of women’s
> sounds as noise. Gossip, for example, is seen as frivolous,
> extraneous, and meaningless. [Marie Thompson]

This reminds me that Kittler attributes some important characteristics
to the voice of women that are far from meaningless or threatening,
but not entirely incompatible with this perspective on gossip.

He foregrounds the reassuring role that mothers (used to?) play in the
education of kids, training them to be vocally (physically) able to
perform discourse. Along those lines, he kind of traces a gendered
account of the development of media systems. He also refers to how,
later on, women would get “within writing” by taking the role of
secretaries and typists.

Thus, there seems to be a cultural history of women as specialized
functionaries (as computers as well, as evoked by Hayles) that
intermediate/ mediate discourse; allowed to /be/ a voice but not to
/have/ one.

But then, it is interesting to note that the intervention of the
soundman in Marie’s performance shows how being just a functionary can
still be very “meaningful”:

> When I arrived, the soundman was not expecting
> me to play (I think something had got lost in the
> communication channels) […] what actually happened
> was the noise kicked in, and the soundman turned
> me right down. [MT]

In that sense, we could develop Magnus’ question further: more than
managing or maintaining a network of performance, is the presence of
functionaries able to offer another perspective over these networks,
one that allows us to turn dualisms around? (Particularly the
separation between “technical procedures” and “meaningful discourse” –
and maybe that between backstage and stage)?

>Though it's a matter of perspective - I know that some
>people who saw it didn't recognize the lack of noise/
>volume (myself included). [Magnus Lawrie]

Which also throws us back to the issue of how shared/ universal have
to be the criteria for assessing these less traditional practices –
especially when they propose a radical departure from previous

Also, is there any special care that should be taken in order to
communicate them to a “general” audience? Or are misunderstandings
also a positive result?


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