Locating the voice in improvised and expanded cinemas

Holdsworth, Claire (2018) Locating the voice in improvised and expanded cinemas. In: Media Tactics and Engagement; 27 – 28 Jun 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Unpublished)


Part of a pre-constituted panel on ‘Alternative spaces/disengaged terrains – expanded cinemas in London during the 1960s and 1970s’, which brought together early career researchers specialising in artists’ moving image, this 15-minute paper considered the recorded voice along with the process (and politics) of capturing it. Using the Feminist Improvising Group (FIG) as a key touchstone, discussion charted the crossover between this live improvised music group and feminist film/video making in the late 1970s and early 1980s – charting artistic intersections otherwise unseen (or unheard). With a focus on improvised music and theories of the voice, analysis drew upon clips from Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s 1980 film AMY!, which uses the music of FIG in its soundtrack. Discussion considered how audio-visual artefacts trigger forms of ‘disengagement’ when re-watched positing the uttered and dis-embodied voice as a means of fostering exchanges across time-frames and re-excavating historical narratives. Referring to theories of the voice (including texts by Dolar, Chion and Connor) the paper considered how its ‘grain’ exposes alternative readings when re-heard and revisited.

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