There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.
ﬁrst to beneﬁt from a visibly rich female literary heritage. They write in the wake of the explosion in published writing by
women that was an outcome both of feminist movements of the s and
of feminist archaeological work which has revealed a heterogeneous female
literary tradition that had hitherto been lost from view. In the climate of
radical feminist activism of s France, women’s writing was heavily politicised. Cixous’s écriture féminine, which, it must be remembered, was a
term that she applied to male-authored texts of the past as much as to
achievement recalls the poppy, the flower of death
and dreaming which lifts the senses to heaven.
Better get in touch with Heaven, again …
Little drops – of blood?
Think of the opium poppy, wounded, scratched, oozing its white then black blood,
scraped off in tiny harvests. (1984: 158)
In a similar manner to Cixous she affi rms the courage of the woman writer
who has struggled to attain the power to focus upon the source of knowledge:
‘Gazing on one tree, one apple’ (1984: 155).
Smart’s choice of distinctive shape for her work represents in textual form
the situation of
(Silverman 1983 , 52).
Furthermore, this signifying system – itself a process within
cultural historical dynamics of a specific context –
determines the gendered aspects of that cultural identity.
Hélène Cixous contextualises:
political economy of the masculine and the feminine is
The crisis of masculinity in Ian McEwan’s early fiction
surrounding sexuality, and particularly the female body, fuel his desire
to attain manhood at whatever cost. In this sense, the narrator’s
boyhood quest for sexual knowledge is also a form of conquest over the
terrifying, yet desired, female body. As premised in ‘The Laugh of the
Medusa,’ Hélène Cixous describes men’s sexual possession of the female
body as a means ‘to penetrate’ and ‘pacify’ the
rejected for being theoretically passé. Beauvoir was criticised for
‘re-heating’ Sartre by reflecting his male-centred and misogynistic views
and for privileging male values and male sexuality; this became known as
a phallocentric viewpoint, and Beauvoir’s feminism as ‘phallic feminism’.
The most strident critique of Beauvoir in this vein came from a group called
Psychanalyse et Politique, or ‘Psych et Po’, with whom the psychoanalytic
feminist Hélène Cixous was associated. The group’s journal, des femmes
hebdo, published a satirical piece on Beauvoir and the feminism
Breillat’,27 appear over the same open
school notebook as that used by Alice, and the semi-autobiographical
film we are seeing is like Breillat’s diary, her cinematic version of
‘écriture féminine’ (‘feminine writing’). Hélène Cixous might almost
have had Alice/Breillat’s story in mind when she wrote: ‘J’ai plus
d’une fois été émerveillée par ce qu’une femme me décrivait d’un
monde sien qu’elle hantait secrètement depuis sa petite enfance.
Monde de recherche, d’élaboration d’un savoir, à partir d’une expérimentation systématique des fonctionnements du corps, d
intellectuals who attempted to theorise and conceptualise not only
Otherness but the question of the human psyche and its very relationship with society in the twentieth century (see Cixous, 1975; Kristeva,
1982, 1991; Lacan, 1977).
Lacan explored the complexities inherent in any attempt to map the
self, the Other and their relationship with reality as produced in any
linguistic text. For Derrida, the complexities of the self meant that
attempts to define meaning based on the difference between opposites were fraught with the dangers of over-simplification and
interpretative categories and emancipatory objectives. Jardine describes the challenge thus:
Feminism, as a concept, as inherited from the humanist and rationalist eight eenth
century, is traditionally about a group of human beings in history whose identity is
defined by that history’s representation of sexual decidability. And every term of that
definition has been put into question by contemporary French thought. (1985: 20)
63 For a discussion of how Kristeva, Irigaray and Cixous came to be nominated as the representatives of ‘French feminism’ by those outside France see
if one discounts Lucky’s “thinking” rant in
Waiting for Godot ’. 33
Foucault’s response to theatre cannot be
attributed to the experience of seeing Beckett alone. Foucault was
also an admirer and later friend of Jean Genet, for example, and
became close to Hélène Cixous at Vincennes. 34 Foucault did not
write very much directly on theatre and performance, but the