The Other Voice: the self, its echo & the silent participant
Webb, Olivia Francesca Vissers
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Through the use of the sung voice, this thesis investigates how the voice describes, defines and/or gives meaning to a place or space. The works documented in this thesis explore the reciprocity between the human voice, the places or spaces in which it is encountered and various modes of encountering. Through a solo performance methodology that draws from my experience as a classically trained choral singer, I explore how the voice, as a metaphor for and extension of the ‘self’, negotiates its position within a social and cultural landscape through its behaviour in space. By focussing on the ‘choir of the self’ this study considers the relationship between the voice and the self/other, the voice and its echo in space, and the voice and the listener (audience). For this thesis, I develop a series of performances that utilise both my live and recorded voice in a variety of performance installation works, often involving multi-channel sound. In using sonic and phonic techniques of repetition, delay/decay and reverberation between my live and recorded voice, I explore the conceptual dimensions to these techniques; a repeated self, an echoed self, myself in space and time. In turn, these ideas are applied to the listener and also to the space itself. Through my performances I examine how architectural space, and its social meaning, changes our perception of the voice, and in turn our social behaviour. I also examine how certain phenomena of the voice affect the listener; a voice when heard without a locatable source, or the polyvalence of the voice in communication. Through this exploration the sung voice is heard to express meaning beyond everyday spoken communication; thus revealing the complexity of the everyday negotiation of our ‘self’ in space.