PANEL 6: Practice (voices) Research

PANEL 6: Practice (voices) Research

Friday 15th January 2016 – 11:30AM-1:00PM – Studio 1

  • The Practice: Re-authoring John Donne in a vocal somatic dialogue. Jane Boston

This performative lecture examines some of the experiential processes involved in the vocal embodiment of John Donne’s early seventeenth century short poem The Sun Rising.

It considers some of the physical, auditory and imaginative properties of the expressive voice when a process of re-authoring the text through a prism of the speaker’s being and understanding is undertaken. It considers both the effects on the speaker and the position occupied by the canonicalauthor-in-print- under these dialogical conditions. It asks what happens when the provocations from the text as message content, image and rhythm, meet with an individual speaker’s receptivity based upon their own experience, image formation and rhythmic recognition?

It raises questions about the pre-existence of the given text itself. Are there any properties that emerge in the voicing of its structure that might have been overlooked in a postmodern critique of essentialism? Is it possible to identify the signatures in the poetic text that usher in particular kinds of vocal partnerships with the speaker?

What might the ensuing inter-textual duologue offer to the listener’s experience of the text? How much of the ‘re-write ‘ is heard when the text is no longer Donne’s alone? Does an embodied dialogue between author and speaker generate a voiced text that is part of a ‘new’ inter-theoretical paradigm that emerges when the speaker and the text dissolve their ‘traditional’ binary positions?

I propose that the expressive voice is best considered as part of an immanent set of relational and hybrid processes comprised of the speakers’ and listener’s psycho-physiology, the content of the authorial message and the varied forms of ensuing sound waves from the individual. A close examination of the ensuing embodied synthesis offers further understanding about the effects of pre-existing language structures on both the interpretive position and the individual’s emergent voice.

Theoretical references are made to post-Kristeva feminist discourse analysis, Cavarero’s philosophical analysisin ‘For More than One Voice’, andlinguistic theories about the production, transmission and reception of the material voice and text in Maria Grazia’s Guido’s The Acting Interpreter Embodied Stylistics in an Experientialist Perspective, amongst others.

Jane Boston is Principal Lecturer in Voice Studies and Head of the International Centre for Voice at RCSSD. She has extensive voice and actor training experience in Higher Education and the Conservatoire at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as the theatre profession. Her research interests are in the field of voice theory and practice with a special interest in voice and sonority, the poetics of the voice in the actor training curriculum, and the relationship between voice, the constructs of gender and the public platform. She is an actor, poet, guitarist and vocalist, and founder member of Lesbian Theatre Company, Siren.

  • The challenge to artistic collaborators – who then is the author? Alan Taylor

My research concerns shared artistic creation. In the analysis of my practice I have been faced with the challenge both of identifying the author of the resulting art, and of addressing the problem of my inability to summarise the meaning of the art created.

In these two ways, art resulting from a shared creative process is the same as any other art. Following Bakhtin, Vygotsky and Barthes, I see all art as created through a dialogic process. It is inherently complex and ambiguous as a result. Therefore the author or authors of the art may be unable to summarise its meaning and cannot be looked to as the source of the meaning of the art.

Once the creative process is shared, these challenges become particularly acute. I have encountered them in discussions with those I am working with and from audiences to whom I have described my projects.

I will seek to place these challenges in the context of the wider debates on authorship in the arts. I will refer to the view that the meaning of art is found in author’s intentions, and the challenge to this intentionalist approach by Wimsatt and Beardsley. I will follow this with a discussion of the argument of Barthes that meaning in art is created by the recipient rather than the author.

This examination of my practice in the light of important areas of theoretical debate has led me to the conclusion that it is necessary to separate the question of the author of the meaning of the art from the question of the authorship of the tasks required to create the art. The authors of the meanings are the audience members. The authors of the tasks are the various artists involved.

Alan Taylor is a PhD candidate at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, studying the process of collaboration between composers and musicians.