Janet Cardiff: Portholes into other Worlds

This essay is about the relationship between the spatial reality and the imaginary reality in the auditory artwork The Missing Voice (case study b) by Janet Cardiff. The analysis is based on a semiotic model that differentiate between two types of signifieds; a denotative signified and a connotative signified. Those terms, with focus on connotation, is used in relation to sound and linguistic signs in the auditory reality of the artwork.The first chapter “Den okroppsliga rösten” discusses the relationship between the several voices of fiction and the spatial reality in The Missing Voice (case study b). There are four versions of the voice of cardiff and two other masculine voices that reach out, through the auditory reality, to the participant of the artwork. The participant throws therefore between the spatial reality and the reality of fiction.
The second chapter “Den akustiska upplevelsen” discusses what happens when the aucoustic reality is in and out of sync with the spatial reality in The Missing Voice (case study b). When the two soundscapes, the real and the auditory, synchronize it’s difficult for the participant to separate between reality and fiction. Those recorded sounds originate from the spatial reality and therefore connotes this reality. Sometimes Cardiff refers to sounds that are invisible in the spatial reality, the soundscapes are then not in sync with each other, but still the sounds are so close to the spatial reality that they feel real.The last chapter “Det imaginära rummet” is about the meeting between the real spatiality and the imaginäry. On many occations in the artwork the voice of Cardiff transforms the real room to a room from the past. Then her words connotations reinforces the experience of the presence of the imaginäry room in the real room.

Author: Bünger, Maja

Source: Sodertorn University

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