Norie Neumark – Voicetracks: Attuning to Voice in Media and the Arts


The Mit Press Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262036139, English, 232 pages, 2017, USA

Seven years after “Vø1ce”, an anthology of texts edited by Neumark with R. Gibson and T. van Leeuwen, this book extends and expands her theories on voice, tracking them through a new materialist approach which includes animals, things and places, and where the resonating ‘bodies’ are no longer confined to humans. It’s a vast exploration going well beyond a pure ‘voice studies’ theoretical method, whose produced knowledge is both ‘situated’ and ‘carnal’. Moreover we can understand how voice is driven by and drives affect and emotions in a complex relationship. The author explores different embodiments, ”tracking” voices, and focusing on how we are both “affected and effected” by voices coming from an army of unexpected agents. She defines a clear path, signposted by a series of media art projects, curated to articulate a large spectrum of (analysed) experiences. In her prose, resonating is tuned with vibrating at large, voicing as a pure phenomenon is confronted with ‘unvoicing’ – or the disconnect between sound and image in specific artworks – and technologies speaking with their own ‘voice’ can be tackled with an appropriate listening of silence. The body of art projects feature in a long conversation throughout the whole text, led by the author. In the end, she unfolds a narrative of listening which works as a perceptual extensor and a significant gateway to a deep conceptual reframing of ‘voice’ per se.