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There is no soundtrackRethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract$
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Ming-Yuen S. Ma

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526142122

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526142139

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Radical otherness: voiceover, autoethnography, performativity

Radical otherness: voiceover, autoethnography, performativity

(p.27) 1 Radical otherness: voiceover, autoethnography, performativity
(p.iii) There is no soundtrack

Ming-Yuen S. Ma

Manchester University Press

This chapter’s discussion is organized around the discursive as well as bodily understanding of the voice within Western intellectual traditions, through which it examines the voice’s disembodiment facilitated by media technology. Specifically, the voice that is split from the image in documentary and ethnographic filmmaking becomes what Mary Ann Doane calls the ‘radical other’. This chapter argues that the disembodied voice’s radical otherness has the potential to empower silenced or misrepresented subjects to re-claim their vocal power within these filmic traditions. However, this re-claimed voice is neither discursive nor normative. Instead, this voice is re-embodied through performative, improvisatory, and vibrational strategies, exemplified in live performances by Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky-That Subliminal Kid) and Tanya Tagaq, alongside experimental documentaries and essay films including Chantal Akerman’s News from Home (1976), Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (1982), and Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989).

Keywords:   voice, voiceover, documentary, autoethnography, performance, embodiment

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