Composing with Schizo-narratives and Sonic Chorographies:
The Territory of Disembodied Voices and the Perception of Acousmatic Identities
This PhD focusses on the body of work that has emerged from the author’s compositional practice between 2008 and 2015. It tackles a range of issues including (dark) tourism, identity and remembrance, and the tensions between history, narrative and myth; from folklore practices to postwar Eastern Europe and the Holocaust.
Three extended projects using field recordings and interviews as their primary source material are examined: a soundscape study of Padstow, a composition dealing with the soundscapes of historically-charged places, and an ongoing project that further explores issues of memory, narrative, and myth-making. Through a detailed contextual investigation of these sound-works, the text endeavours to provide a dialogue between the phonographies of the sites and voices featured in the compositions and the social, historical, political and economic forces that have contributed to the making (and metamorphosis) of these places and communities.
The author develops a number of notions including the construction of schizo-narratives: an editing technique where fragments of interviews are reorganised to create unexpected and non-linear narratives, and sonic chorographies: the use of field recordings to represent not only the fragmentary delineations of a soundscape but also to operate a re-scaling of the elements depicted to highlight crucial aspects of the socio-political fabric of a specific place. These elements lead to an investigation of the territory of disembodied voices – the phenomenological mechanisms of interaction between disembodied voices and the sonic environment – as well as a reflection on the perception of acousmatic identities.
From the multitude of conflicting histories that underpin the origins and beliefs associated with the Mayday festival to the problematic site transformations that have occurred in Krakow and Auschwitz as a result of the Holocaust tourist trade; from the dislocated narratives of ‘twin language’ to the imagined myths of the lost Jewish community of thirteenth century Hereford, this PhD endeavours to show how disembodied voices and soundscapes might be creatively and conceptually explored through plurality and contradiction, as a territory where no element is fixed, where no narrative is crystallised, where identities are in constant motion, where meaning is always transient.