Sonic technologies of postmodernity and the grain of the voice in Robert Lepage’s Lipsynch
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Glenn D'Cruz
This paper unpacks the relationships between the human voice and sound technologies by re-reading and re-evaluating Roland Barthes seminal essay, ‘The Grain of the Voice’ an oft cited but frequently misunderstood text, in the light of Robert Lepage’s Lipsynch (Canada, 2012). This production explicitly uses analogue and digital sound technologies to reveal the complexities and contradictions operating within the sonic economy of the performance with particular reference to the way it uses digital dubbing, miming, voice-overs and lip-reading to unsettle assumptions about the connections between the language, speech and the human voice. The paper will also unsettle any simple understanding of the voice as the locus of identity, and uncover the manner in which sonic digital technologies enable us to better apprehend ‘the body in the voice as it sings, the hand as it writes, the limb as it performs’ (Barthes, 185) while remaining sceptical about the existence of a primordial, unconstructed body.