Sounding loneliness in under the skin

Redmond, Sean 2016, Sounding loneliness in under the skin, Senses of cinema, no. 78, pp. 1-15.

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Title Sounding loneliness in under the skin
Author(s) Redmond, SeanORCID iD for Redmond, Sean
Journal name Senses of cinema
Issue number 78
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Publisher Senses of Cinema
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 1443-4059
Keyword(s) sound
film analysis
science fiction
austerity politics
Summary How one affectively sounds loneliness on screen is dependent on what instruments, melodies, voices and sound effects are used to create a sonic membrane that manifests as melancholy and malcontent. It is in the syncretic and synesthetic entanglement that sounding loneliness takes root. It is in the added value inherent in the “sound-image” – to draw upon Chion1 – that loneliness fully emerges like a black dahlia. So many lonely people, where do they all come from? And yet, as I will suggest, this sounding loneliness is not only textually specific, simply or singularly driven by narrative and generic concerns, but is historically contingent and nationally and culturally locatable. For example, the sounds of urban isolation of the American 1940s film noir are different from the Chinese peasant laments of Chen Kaige’s Yellow Earth (1984), or what I will presently argue are the British austere strings of sounding loneliness today. When one employs a “diagnostic critique”2, one undertakes to find the history in the text and the text in the history. It is in the interplay between sound and image that historical and political truth emerges. These contextualised and historicised soundings change across and within national landscapes and their related imaginings. We don’t just see the crumbling walls of the imagined nation state, but get to hear its desolate tunes: The Specials wailing “Ghost Town” – the anthem of/to Margaret Thatcher’s first wave of 1980s neo-liberalism – is a striking case in point. But what specifically is this contemporary “sounding loneliness”, and where does it come from? I would like to suggest that this age of loneliness is composed in, through and within the sonic vibrations found in the wretched politics of austerity. My case study will be the anomic soundings of Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013).
Language eng
Field of Research 1902 Film, Television And Digital Media
190201 Cinema Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Senses of Cinema
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