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Envoicing the Future: Victoria Hanna's Exterior Voice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2009

Abstract

This essay examines theatrical dimensions of the future in Signals, a performance by the Israeli vocalist Victoria Hanna. An examination of four scenes from this performance, I argue, shows that the sounds in Hanna's voice act in the symbolic dualities of female–male, human–technological, and embodied–disembodied figures. These dualities amplify the discrepancy between Hanna's staged identity (female, human, embodied figure) and an absent exterior other (male, technological, disembodied figure). The notion of ‘envoicement’ is developed in order to analyse these dualities and, in particular, to explore the body–voice relationship that they compose. Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas's ethical theory in Time and the Other, I argue that the meaning attributed to the future is never conveyed in its presence but rather in its absence; that is, signifying practices that represent the absent exterior referent stage the future. Through this central claim, I thus assert that Hanna's disembodied voice ‘envoices’ the future.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © International Federation for Theatre Research 2009

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References

NOTES

1 The Song of Songs, Chapter 5:2. Translated for Victoria Hanna's performance Signals by Amichai Lau-Lavie.

2 The Song of Songs, Chapter 2:4. Translated for Victoria Hanna's performance Signals by Amichai Lau-Lavie.

3 Midrash ‘Seder Yezirat Ha-Valad’ in J.D Eisenstein ed., Ozar Midrashim (NewYork: Reznick, Menschel & Co., Inc., 1928), pp. 243–245. Translated for Victoria Hanna's performance Signals by Amichai Lau-Lavie.

4 Steven Connor, `The Machine in the Ghost: Spiritualism, Technology and the ‘Direct Voice’ ‘, in Ghosts: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, History, ed. Peter Buse (London: Macmillan, 1999), pp. 203–25, here p. 212.

5 Quoted from Victoria Hanna's text in the opening scene of Signals, Performed at The Kitchen in New York City, 2005.

6 Connor, Steven, ‘Satan and Sybil: Talk, Possession, and Dissociation’ in Salamensky, S.I, ed., Talk, Talk, Talk: The Cultural Life of Everyday Conversation (New York: Routledge Press, 2001), pp. 163180Google Scholar, here p. 165.

7 The Song of Songs, Chapter 5:2.

8 Ong, Walter J., An Ong Reader: Challenges for Further Inquiry, Farrell, Thomas J. and Soukup, Paul A. eds., (Cresskill, New Jersey: Hampton Press, 2002), p. 264Google Scholar.

9 Carol Martin, Victoria Hanna's Geopolitical Vocal Architecture (Unpublished paper from the ASTR Seminar 2006), p. 7.

10 Žižek, Slavoj, ‘I Hear You with My Eyes’ in Salecl, Renata and Zizek, Slavoj, eds., Gaze and Voice as Love Objects (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996), pp. 90129Google Scholar, here p. 92.

11 Buber, Martin, Between Man and man, trans. Smith, Ronald Gregor (London: Kegan Paul, 1947), p. 176Google Scholar.

12 Levinas, Emmanuel, Time and the Other, trans. Cohen, Richard A. (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1987), p. 76Google Scholar.

13 The Song of Songs, Chapter 2:4.

14 Midrash ‘Seder Yezirat Ha-Valad’ in J.D Eisenstein ed., Ozar Midrashim (NewYork: Reznick, Menschel & Co., Inc., 1928), pp. 243–245.

15 Midrash ‘Seder Yezirat Ha-Valad’, p. 243.

16 Midrash ‘Seder Yezirat Ha-Valad’, p. 245.