Making Speech-Matter: Recurring Mediations in Sound Poetics and its Contemporary Practice

Pester, Holly (2013) Making Speech-Matter: Recurring Mediations in Sound Poetics and its Contemporary Practice. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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This thesis produces a critical and creative space for new forms of sound poetics. Through a reflective process combining theoretical research and poetic practice – performances, text-scores and installations – the thesis tests the contemporary terms of intermedial poetics and sound poetry, establishing a conceptual terminology for speech-matter. Beginning with a study of 1960s sound poet Henri Chopin and his relation to the tape machine, I argue that this technological mediation was based on a poetics of analogue sound hinged on bodily engagement. Social and physical properties of the tape machine contribute to a mode of practice that negotiates the body, machine, and effort. Exploring Michel Serres’s concept of parasitic noise and the relation of interference to lyric appeal, via the work of Denise Riley and Hannah Weiner, I understand sound poetics as a product of lyrically active noise. Through an analysis of radio address, a conceptual link is drawn between lyric poetry and technological mediation, which posits the radiophonic as a material effect of transmission and also a mode of hailing. This is tested through sound poems that are investigative of distortion and echo. Addressing the conceptual limits of Intermedia, a new critical model is established for a poetics of sound operating in present-day media technologies. This alternative model, based on a concept of milieu, is a means of negotiating a poem’s materiality and context, in order to posit a work’s multiple connections and transmissions. This model is tested through the text and installation work of Caroline Bergvall, and subsequently realised in my own gallery installation that investigates links between sound, milieu and archive. Through this research into mediated speech, new platforms for intermedial sound poetics are produced. This project offers a model for practice-based research that produces knowledge of speech-matter by way of the ‘black box’ of poetic practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > English & Humanities
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2014 13:00
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:46

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