Caroline L. Eastwood
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Feeling sound
Audiovisuality and the multisensory in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks - The Return
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David Lynch is well known for his idiosyncratic and experimental approach towards sound-image aesthetics in film and television. His latest collaboration with Mark Frost, Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) constitutes a powerful televisual moment, and marks Lynch’s desire to push the stylistic boundaries of mainstream television. The bold and startling audio-visual expression of the 1945 Trinity bomb test in ‘Gotta Light’ (part 8, season 3) is indicative of the abstract expressionism present in many of Lynch’s films. Sound and image blend, collide and intensify one another, pushing the viewer’s sensory awareness beyond hearing and sight towards bodily feeling, eliciting kinaesthetic effects such as heat, bodily tension and physical discomfort to convey the overall sense of horror of the wider narrative.

The sound–image relationship, or what Michel Chion (1994) refers to as ‘audio-vision’, provides this sequence with an immersive quality, presenting a significant opportunity to examine the fundamental role of sound in the viewer’s experience. Despite the growth in interest from scholars in the style and aesthetics of television, much literature is dominated by the visual. In addition, the powerful sensory appeal of this moment from Twin Peaks: The Return highlights the need for discussion of the embodied relationship between screen and audience in television studies. This chapter addresses these concerns through close textual analysis, engaging with theories more commonly associated with film studies such as sensory embodiment and multisensory perception to identify how the viewer can obtain narrative meaning from a powerfully aesthetic-driven televisual moment.

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Sound / image

Moments in television


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