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Photograph: Julian Hughes

Aura Satz: Vocal Flame 


Artist and writer, Aura Satz has long been interested in the complex relationship between man and machine, exploring and questioning the machine as a communicative tool. In her new work for Radar, Vocal Flame, Aura created a fiery sound sculpture using a Ruben’s Tube, an acoustic device which visualizes sound as a standing wave of small flames. The soundtrack that animated the flickering flames featured a histrionic voice-over, exploring the various embodiments of ventriloquized voices in popular culture, particularly the female voice in film. The voiceover conjured narratives of a biblical burning bush, a self-consuming flame alphabet, the moulded vocal training of My Fair Lady, and the acousmatic notion of a voice without source, hidden behind a veil or curtain.

Through the performing object, from the perspective of the ventriloquism of the flame, Vocal Flame aimed to expose the malleability, violence and porosity of vocal manipulation.

Vocal Flame was devised and scripted by Aura Satz, with the voiceover performed by vocalist Jennifer Walshe, and music composed by Steven Severin, musician and founding member of Siouxie and the Banshees.

Aura Satz’s practice encompasses film, sound, performance and sculpture. In recent years she has completed a collection of films which look closely at sound visualisation through various technologies such as Chladni patterns, the theremin, mechanical music, phonograph grooves and drawn/optical sound, paying close attention to the materiality of such technologies, the resulting sound patterns and the modes of gestural engagement. The films provide an intimate encounter with archaic and obsolete sound technologies, exploring their de-familiarized sculptural and tactile qualities, and revealing new ways of thinking about sound.

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Loughborough University Arts

Martin Hall Building

Loughborough University

Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK

luarts@lboro.ac.uk

01509 222 881

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