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Sound, sense, babble and speech: approaches to the spoken word in contemporary sound arts practices

Lane, Cathy (2011) Sound, sense, babble and speech: approaches to the spoken word in contemporary sound arts practices. In: sforzando!, 14 - 19 June 2011, New York, USA. (Unpublished)

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Lane, Cathy

This paper will consider spoken word composition as a distinct area of artistic practice and research within an interdisciplinary context by considering the work of a selection of contemporary artists whose creative work is part of an intermittent ongoing tradition of artistic investigation of the spoken word. Although they come from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds including music composition, sound art and performance poetry for each of these artists sounded language and the spoken word provides the materials and often the means by which they carry out their artistic investigations.

In this paper I will identify and discuss some similarities and differences between the various cross- disciplinary approaches to playing with words which run through their works. In many cases their concerns relate back to their historical antecedents such as the poets, performers and other artists working with sound in the early part of the twentieth century, including the Futurists, Zaum poets, Dadaists and Lettristes who sought to invent new languages and new words in order to express their vision of reality and to deconstruct and reduce the power of language. Other artists are examining and revealing the experiences and complexities of contemporary society by engaging with how spoken language works and manifests itself. These works reflect more recent developments in linguistics and the psychology and philosophy of language revealing how meaning is negotiated and transmitted between individuals and groups, across cultures and through languages and their translations.

Most of the sound works mentioned in this paper can be found on a curated audio compilation Playing with Words: an audio compilation freely available online at www.gruenrekorder.de. A double compact disc is also available from Greunrekorder. This compilation features works by over forty artists including Tomomi Adachi, Jaap Blonk, Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Sten Hanson, Mikhael Karikis, Brandon LaBelle, Leigh Landy, Paul Lansky, Katharine Norman, Nye Parry, Amanda Stewart , Barry Truax, Michael Vincent, Trevor Wishart and Pamela Z. Their works negotiate potential oppositions such as semantic play and abstraction, musical and narrative structures, speech and song, one voice and many and draw their influences from many sources including poetry, music, song, theatre, typography and graphic art, philosophy, radio, performance art, linguistics, fine art, literature and the observation and experience of every day life. Many of the artists on these compilation have also contributed to an edited book entitled Playing with Words: the spoken word in artistic practice which is available from Cornerhouse Books at www.cornerhouse.org.

Official Website: http://www.ems-network.org/ems11/index.html
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: electroacoustic music composition, spoken word, artistic practices, technology, sound poetry, music, sound art
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Research Centres/Networks > Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP)
Date: 14 June 2011
Copyright Holders: Cathy Lane
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Event Location: New York, USA
Projects or Series: Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011), Playing with words:the spoken word in artistic practice
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2011 14:15
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2014 10:53
Item ID: 3772
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/3772

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