The Research Networking Day provides a platform to exchange ideas and experiences for students and researchers from different European graduate and postgraduate programmes traversing the fields of audio, arts, media, design and related theoretical disciplines. A yearly initiative co-organised with local universities and organisaitons, this edition is presented in collaboration with the Berlin University of the Arts, the German Association for Music Business and Music Culture Research (GMM), and Humboldt University of Berlin. The RND sought submissions from students, junior researchers and persons pursuing higher levels of research and studies to present projects and findings connected to the CTM 2020 Liminal Theme.
The third module within the 2020 Research Networking Day is hosted by Anita Jóri, who is the scientific supervisor of the Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, UdK). Her research and publications focus on the linguistic (discursive and terminological) aspects of electronic (dance) music culture. She studied applied linguistics and history, and in 2017 finished her PhD thesis, “The discourse community of electronic dance music.”
Gender Deprogramming and Vocal Resynthesis in Contemporary Music Practice
Caitlin F. O’Riordan (University of Groningen, NL)
The voice has often been discussed as a mediator of gender perception, whereby the voice is said to function as a signifier in direct correlation with culturally defined, binary categories of man or woman. Yet, what happens when the voice can no longer be placed or perceived as belonging to either of these categories? Touching upon recent practices in music making that involve the technological manipulation and/or distortion of the voice, this presentation will highlight the transformative potential of digital technologies in altering the human voice. Discussed through a number of case studies, Caitlin F. O’Riordan will highlight the ways in which a growing number of genderqueer, non-binary, and transgender artists are creating a ‘techno-liminal’ voice that exceeds any sort of classification. Indeed, for many of these artists, liminality is used as both a political tool and praxis aimed at subverting the voice’s connections to issues of gender, gender embodiment, and gender perception. In other words, voice explores something unidentifiable, existing in a blurred space between and beyond its normative structures—as something not quite human, yet not quite robotic—the liminal voice is actively being used a means through which to deprogram and resynthesise the voice and its signifying qualities.
Caitlin O’Riordan is a Research Master’s student of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands with a particular interest in issues relating to performance and gender studies, queer theory, and posthumanism. Their work focuses on instances of resistance and subversion within popular culture, as well as an interest in the connections between music, identity, and technology.
su·sur·rous (Full of Whispering Sounds)—On female voices exploring sound as speech and speech as sound
Tabea Nixdorff (ArtEZ University of the Arts, NL)
When is language dissociable from meaning? If we consider the dissociation of verbal (sensical) from vocal (non-sensical) sounds as a result of a patriarchal binary culture, can non-verbal bodily sounds possibly be read as part of a specifically feminine vocal tradition, not yet fully captured? With “su·sur·rous (full of whispering sounds),” Tabea Nixdorff explores the liminality of voice. Scavenging through the messy (non)archives of digital platforms—full of hyperlinks and voids—via a desktop performance, Nixdorff explores ambiguities and biases. She (re)enacts jump-cuts between tabs, quoting sound pieces by female composers (such as Cathy Berberian, Meredith Monk, Pamela Z, and others), feminist writers on voice (such as Kathy Acker, Anne Carson, Audre Lorde, Ursula LeGuin), and interviews with composers (such as Joanna Brouk, Delia Derbyshire, Pauline Oliveros). The piece sees Nixdorff urgently reconnecting abandoned utterances while simultaneously adding female names to existing canons.
Tabea Nixdorff is an artist and researcher currently working towards her MA in Fine Art and Design. She is based in Arnhem, NL, where she co-curates PHANTOMRADIO 91FM and sits on the board of APRIA, an online platform for Research Interventions of the Arts. In her artistic practice, Nixdorff explores possible languages for and of marginalised (female) voices, which takes shape in lecture performances and audio installations, as well as book projects, her latest being published by Spector Books.
Ventriloquial Bodies: Re-framing ephemerality in artists’ film and video
Claire M. Holdsworth (University of the Arts London, UK)/strong>
This short paper considers feminist performance and artists’ moving image in the UK during the late-1970s and early-1980s. Discussion will draw from on-going post-doctoral research into the intersections between experimental sound/music and artists’ film/video in London during this timeframe. In response to the theme of this year’s CTM festival, the paper will explore the liminal (transformational, destabilising) dynamics of the sounded voice, and aims to shift canonised perception of the ‘disembodied voice’ in film/media studies texts (Chion, 1999; Silvermann, 1984). Taking-up Rebecca Schneider’s questioning of ephemerality and the archive in ‘Performance Remains’ (2001), discussion will unpack the 'ventriloquial' (Connor, 2000) dynamics of the voice, to consider the dual situation through which it both detaches from and reconnects to/with other subjects and objects. By unpacking the ‘defamailiar’ (Hayles, 2002) and the ‘intermedial’ (Higgins, 1966), the nature of live and recorded voices will be considered, with a focus upon the act of speaking as opposed to the medium-specific materiality of technologies. This paper tentatively posits an alternative positioning of the language associated with archives: re-situating ephemerality as a state of liminal transformation as opposed to dematerialised disappearance.
Dr Claire M. Holdsworth is an is an archivist, researcher, and writer based in London. Specialising in British artists’ moving image of the 1960s to 1990s, her research considers sound and the voice, using interviews and archives to explore artists and collectives working during this time. Currently an independent researcher, she lectures at the University of the Arts London, the Royal College of Art, and other art colleges. Holdsworth was previously an Early Career Research Fellow at Kingston School of Art (Kingston University London, 2016–18) and completed an AHRC funded PhD at Central Saint Martins (UAL) in 2016.
Dr Anita Jóri is scientific supervisor and research associate at Vilém Flusser Archive, BerlinUniversity of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, UdK).