Split narratives of film/sound/video : an ‘aural’ history project

Holdsworth, Claire M. (2017) Split narratives of film/sound/video : an ‘aural’ history project. In: Sources and Archives in Screen Sound Studies; 01-02 Jun 2017, Huddersfield, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Presented at the conference 'Sources and archives in screen sound studies' (University of Huddersfield, 1 and 2 June 2017), this 20-minute presentation explored the performative afterlife of recorded material. Drawing upon work as an archivist and research into experimental sound and artists’ moving image in 1970s/1980s Britain, the paper considered Vistasound (1981, 45min) by artist Mike Leggett, centred on a holiday postcard, upon the surface of which was pressed a recording of the popular 1950's song, Stairway of Love by Marty Robins – an 'object-trouve' that is analogous with film itself. Traversing topics such as mediums, memory and popular culture, the paper considered theories of the recorded voice and the ‘split’ conditions of recorded utterance, which mirror the split conditions of recorded audio-visual material (in the archive). Considering the ‘antiphonal’ dynamics of the artists’ voice as a catalyst for the evolving afterlife of works, this paper reflected upon what Simon Reynolds describes as dual ‘avant-garde’ and ‘retro-grade’ engagement with the past in the present and how these modes are likewise inherent to archival research and audio-visual artefacts.

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