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This paper was presented under the theme 'radical ventriloquism' for the London Conference in Critical Thought 2019 at Goldsmiths, London, organised by Dr. Lee Campbell and Christabel Harley. Its content specifically navigated theoretic concepts of the abstracted voice. However, throughout the dry, theory-laden paper, pre-recorded audio interruptions gradually began to emanate from an invisible speaker. This demonstrated my own inner-dialogue and abstracted ‘voice’ critiquing the paper being delivered, speaking an internal rollercoaster narrative of subtle passive aggressive undermining, to self-coaching affirmations, to existential damnation. My outward voice attempted to ignore and stifle its subversive counterpart, gradually descending into aggressive vocal exchange and dual interrogation with an aurally omnipotent and entirely disembodied source.

Appendix

 

Supplementary evidence of practice undertaken throughout the duration of doctoral study.

3 minutes and 30 seconds

 

Taking inspiration from John Cage’s 4’33’, and as a response to the phenomena of speechlessness when encumbered by grief, 3 minutes and 30 seconds is a performance of a ‘silent lecture’ within the University of Derby on December 12, 2019, the day of the UK government General Election; an event with lifelong consequences and global political ramifications.

 

The duration represents a minute of silence for each year since the June 2016 European referendum on Brexit, where the UK commenced what has become an unresolved and traumatic separation from the European Union. The election was set to attempt to address this painful deadlock in a country beset with social divisions and discriminations echoing the recent Western lurch towards fascism. This silence references the act of contemplation in a gesture of national mourning, the compromise in vocalising educational integrity in this context, as well as an acknowledgement to the many students in attendance whose voices were not heard on account of their ineligibility to vote in this pivotal referendum.

 

The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020.

Function Function

 

Function Function is a performance presented through the public address Tannoy system at DEDA, Derby, for the Indialogue19 Festival evening social event.

At intervals, typically institutional public information, combined with instructional guidance for visitors regarding proceedings for the event were announced. The scripted content was pre-performed through a process of digital speech-to-text  dictation with a mimicking of verbal stylistics commonplace in corporate announcements. The inflections, exaggerations and vocal tonality, along with the limitations of the technology, partially obscure the content and skew the algorithmic interpretation to form new and seemingly recalcitrant language. The new dialogue is re-presented live in its unedited reconfigurement.

 

Credit: Jenna Eady

THERE'S NO OTHER EXCEPT ME

 

 

 

 

THERE’S NO OTHER EXCEPT ME is a durational performance installation. Originally performed for SHOUT Festival 2016 and hosted by Birmingham Open Media. This work provided the early primer for VODA and Dream Operator.

 

The one night only performance invites its audience to respond to the potential of unanticipated dialogues through telephonic interactions.From the history of LGBTQI and civil rights movements, the artist reconfigures speech acts into informal conversations of universal affirmation and emancipation direct to the receiver via telephone within a curtained booth. These solitary, emotive and undisclosed personal exchanges create intimate discourse with only the technology of the telephone as the physical conduit between artist and participant.

 

The title of the work is taken from the words of Oz, the wizard, on being discovered as the invisible interlocutor behind the curtain to Dorothy.

 

This work was first performed shortly after the Pulse Nightclub Orlando Terror Attack 2016. Inadvertently, it became a facility of sanctuary and reflection for the LGBTQI community in attendance at the festival.

PROFESSOR DELAIRE

 

Professor Beauregarde Dion Delaire is a fictional Luxembourgeoise academic and esteemed visiting Professor to the University of Derby School of Arts.

 

Delaire, performed by Gemma Marmalade, undertook a year long academic residency from September 2019 to the closure of the University in March 2021 due to COVID-19,  teaching third year students of the BA (Hons) Photography programme on the development of their final body of work. This teaching provided cover for Gemma's doctoral research leave.

 

Students were introduced to Professor Delaire and their generous accomodation of this 'new academic' was embraced wholly, resulting in unexpected responses, including the arrival of 'James', a 'new student' to the programme, whose work considered the performativity of gender in commonplace environments.

 

This video illustrates one tutorial between Professor Delaire and James in mid-development towards their graduate show.

 

Additionally, Delaire provided the written introduction, alongside another 'new academic' , Dr. Hefar Gotoph, for the published text, 'Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography' (2020) edited by Gemma Marmalade and Philip Harris as a collection of papers presented at the FORMAT19 conference held at the University of Derby.

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