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Utterance

Editors: Kristina Hagström Ståhl, Magnus Bärtås, Ingrid Elam, Johan Öberg

Call for contributions

Utterance, the production of voice, the bodily uttering of sound, is an integral task across a range of artistic practices. Etymologically the term draws upon Germanic as well as Latin roots, referring to outer limits, passing beyond, and carrying to excess. From (theatrical) performance to poetry, from opera to contemporary visual arts and film, utterance is a site of intense critical aesthetic labour.

The critical, theoretical and metaphorical frameworks within which questions of utterance may be thematised range widely: from linguistics and literary studies to performance studies; from film studies and musicology to oratory; from feminist theory and political science to neurophysiology: from ethnography and psychoanalysis to rhetoric. These frameworks are contested and divergent. On the one hand, long established oppositions between orality and textuality continue to dominate thinking in spite of their problematisation within these disciplines, on the other hand, discursive developments – such as the performative turn in the arts, humanities, and social sciences – have given rise to a range of understandings including verbal as well as corporeal, extra-linguistic and non-vocal notions of utterance.

Given the development of a wide range of enquiries, by artists and performers of all kinds, this issue of PARSE invites researchers to make contributions that consider a diversity of possible questions and problematics. These may include, but are not limited to the following:

What are the current means by which utterance is actualised, understood and re-configured in contemporary artistic research? In what ways can conceptions of vocal utterance be expanded, elaborated upon and challenged? How do approaches that conceptualise utterance exist in concert or in tension with practices that operate at the level of ”discourse” or at the level of ”the” work? How do questions of dialogicity, corporeality and materiality come into play? How do questions of utterance play in into the material, performative and affective resonances of voice, voicing, song, speech, and the much vaunted ideal of coming-to-voice? What does attention to the question of utterance do to the hierarchies of interpretation and origination, and moreover, to notions of subjectivity and positionality as they are interrogated or inscribed in artistic practice? How does current inquiry problematize intentionality and its connection to what Derrida calls the ”scene and system of utterance”? How are these politics operative with respect to contemporary artistic practice? What is the status and valency of stammering, stuttering, and other modes of hesitant, transient and liminal utterance within contemporary art practice? What is the relevance of utterance within mediatized art forms and inquiries? How do questions of performativity inform the production of voice and gesture in various modes and practices in performance? How does the question of utterance interact with documentary practice, testimony, activism and listening as these appear in contemporary artistic production? To what degree, for example, is there a transfer or exchange of critical practices with regard to utterance between the sounding of poetry and contemporary vocal music or performance art or experimental typography? What are the political stakes of utterance in an era of publicity and sound-bites? In what sense is utterance augmented, re-defined, re-constituted, denigrated, displaced or newly constituted in contemporary techniques of reproduction and enhancement, within various digital networks and other technologies of action-at-a-distance? How have these developments been apprehended, enacted or instantiated within and across different artistic practices?

 

Submission of abstracts to this issue is closed. The deadline for full articles is May 6, 2016. Articles should be sent to editor Kristina Hagström Ståhl: kristina.hagstrom-stahl@hsm.gu.se