The ‘Vocalic Body’ of Screamin’ JPosted: 24/07/2012
This one is truly an act of possession. The spirit of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins not only inhabits, it infests the body of the lipsyncher, ‘jimmyslo’.
For Steven Connor, voice is space but can also be construed as body, and vice versa. He calls this the ‘Vocalic Body’ and explains:
‘Voices are produced by bodies: but can also themselves produce bodies. The vocalic body is the idea — which can take the form of dream, fantasy, ideal, theological doctrine or hallucination — of a surrogate or secondary body, a projection of a new way of having or being a body, formed and sustained out of the autonomous operations of the voice.’ [Connor, Steven, Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 35]
In the so-called ‘age of mechanical reproduction’, even the voices of the dead are capable of forming a new body, a body unimagined by the voice’s originator and formerly unimaginable.