Revisiting Unword – sound as radical discourse

Holdsworth, Claire (2017) Revisiting Unword – sound as radical discourse. In: Invisible Republic: Music, Lettrism, Avant-Gardes; 25 – 27 Oct 2017, Lisbon, Portugal. (Unpublished)


Between 1969 and 1970 Ian Breakwell undertook four performance permutations entitled Unword. Using this work as an example, this 15-minute paper considered how text and the act of speaking are subject to radical interdisciplinary experimentation via recording. Framed by the happenings and counter-cultural Underground specific to London during the late 1960s, it traced maps across the city, considering how the radical intermedial discourses of live works such as Unword echo forwards in ‘reconstructions’. The re-recorded nature of this piece enhances complex discourses over-time, indicating how radical re-conceptions of sound and language affect re-articulation of avant-garde discourses – particularly in the ways that such examples are re-shown, re-written and re-visited today.

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