Stansbie, Lisa (2012) The Absent Presence of Voice in Contemporary Artists Film. In: 2nd Global Conference on Storytelling: Reflections on Narrative, November 7th - 9th 2012, The StieglBräu, Salzburg, Austria.

‘…what defines the voice as special among the infinite array of acoustic
phenomena, is its inner relationship with meaning. The voice is something which
points towards meaning’(Dolar 2006)

The paper will analyse the potential of voice to be a signifer of narrative and an immersive instrument within contemporary artists film and their construction, utilising my own practice by screening the digital film Spitfire Beach (2010) as a case study.

The notion of the ‘speaking subject’ (Kristeva) will be investigated, through forms of the voiceover that establish an absent presence within the film works. When voice conveys language as it does via the storytelling in the discussed work, it also creates an absent subject within the films. The voiceover becomes informer, performer and vouyeur of events as they unfold

Each of my film works uses a systematic process of narrative construction, involving found lists of words taken from Internet searches. These lists of words are used to multiply associations that suggest stories, reveal themes of nostalgia, journeys and disasters, which are then recast by the recording of the narrative by voiceover artists.

The notion of multiplicity is also used where tangential associations are developed in the writing of the blogs that document the making process of the films. These associations are constructed specifically via nostalgic memory. In the Spitfire Beach blog (2010) the narrative of the blog is structured around the making of the film Spitfire Beach. However, the writing in this form becomes more than documentation, as interwoven narratives unfold and a process of remembering is engaged. The voice present within the blog is that of the artist and this voice merges memory and association in an unrestrained and wandering style.

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