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Your voice is hair: Speculations toward a metaphor for styling vocal identity

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This article explores the styling of vocal identity through blending together descriptions, assertions, and theorizations that result from an artistic, or arts-practice-led, research process. It asserts that hair-styling can be used as an interesting and potent metaphor for inviting audiences to more consciously experience the styling act of shaping their vocal emanations. With reference to the installation Curious Replicas, which invites audiences in to play with vocal soundings by opening up possibilities for voice-change, the author suggests that with each utterance, each of us emits a temporally travelling cloud of auditory, tactile and visual data that he calls a multisensory vocal identity projection (MVIP), a concept which he builds from assertions in Kreiman’s and Sidtis’ (2011) extended study of studies. The installation tries to give public audiences agency over how their MVIPs are generated and then celebrated as aestheticized products, while troubling aspects of how these projections function, and conjoining them to an experience of intersensory inundation, that includes sound, touch and vision. The writing makes a range of claims that link voice production, interactive art use, and corporeal self-styling, and touches on models for understanding user behaviour derived from fashion studies. The article is more concerned with the concepts it troubles, than with drawing clear conclusions, and as such, situates itself within what artistic discourse does best: it speculates.
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Keywords: artistic research; fashion; fashioning; hair; identity; materiality; practice as research; voice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University College Cork and University of Winchester

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • JIVS provides a forum for scholarly and practice-based engagement with voice as a phenomenon of communication and performance, and a methodology or metaphor for analysis. This peer-reviewed journal draws on an interdisciplinary series of lenses, including cultural studies, critical theory, performance studies, inter-culturalism, linguistics, visual culture, musicology, architecture and somatics.
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