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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Diva-dogs : sounding women improvising Smith, Julie Dawn

Abstract

As an exploration of sound and improvisation in relation to corporeality, subjectivity and culture Diva-dogs: Sounding Women Improvising contests the visual bias of representation. This interdisciplinary investigation of women improvisers engages a somewhat unorthodox and improvisational methodology that approaches theory as a gathering together of disparate disciplinary fragments to create a kaleidoscopic and intertextual polyphony. Sound writes upon the exterior surfaces and interior substances of the body with an invisible ink that leaves its mark as it evaporates and disappears. The invisible presence of sound complicates the visual basis of intelligibility to underscore the corporeal as an improvisational process of sounding, audition, (re)writing and transformation. Sonic polyvalence defies singularity, unity and identity calling us to rethink matter, body, text, sexuality and subjectivity entirely. Sound problematizes representation by confounding the boundaries of interior and exterior space and as such becomes abject, an ambiguous disturbance of symbolic order and somatic signification. Woman is marked as sonic difference in the symbolic, a mark that positions her sexed, raced and classed body precariously in relation to language and meaning. In the practice of free improvisation women play with the sounds, linguistic excesses and abject noises of difference that hover at the border of representation, harmony, language and music to perform a sonic and corporeal voicing of women's subjectivity. To be "woman" is to be engaged in a constant state of improvisation.

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