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MUVE (Museum of Ventriloquial Objects): reconfiguring voice agency in the liminality of the verbal and the vocal

Malacart, L.; (2011) MUVE (Museum of Ventriloquial Objects): reconfiguring voice agency in the liminality of the verbal and the vocal. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This project aims at reconfiguring power and agency in voice representation using the metaphor of ventriloquism. The analysis departs from ‘ventriloquial objects’, mostly moving image, housed in a fictional museum, MUVE. The museum’s architecture is metaphoric and reflects a critical approach couched in liminality. A ‘pseudo-fictional’ voice precedes and complements the ‘theoretical’ voice in the main body of work. After the Fiction, an introductory chapter defines the specific role that the trope of ventriloquism is going to fulfill in context. If the voice is already defined by liminality, between inside and outside the body, equally, a liminal trajectory can be found in the functional distinction between the verbal (emphasis on a semantic message) and the vocal (emphasis on sonorous properties) in the utterance. This liminal trajectory is harnessed along three specific moments corresponding to the three main chapters. They also represent the themes that define the museum rooms journeyed by the fictional visitor. Her encounters with the objects provide a context for the analysis and my practice is fully integrated in the analysis with two films (Voicings, Mi Piace). Chapter 1 addresses the chasm between the scripted voice and the utterance using the notion of inner speech, leading into a discussion about the role of the inner voice, not as silent vocalisation but as a fundamental cognitive tool that precedes writing. Chapter 2 discusses hermeneutics in the progressive breakdown of the semantic component in the voice, using translation as the site where politics and economics converge with aesthetics. With performance, the discussion broadens into performativity and the political aspects of agency in speech. With Chapter 3 the analysis shifts towards ventriloquial objects whose vocal component is more prominent than the semantic. Singing is considered from a gender perspective, as well as from the materialistic viewpoint of the recording medium.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:MUVE (Museum of Ventriloquial Objects): reconfiguring voice agency in the liminality of the verbal and the vocal
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Slade School of Fine Art

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