Goldsmiths - University of London

Composing with Schizo-narratives and Sonic Chorographies: The Territory of Disembodied Voices and the Perception of Acousmatic Identities

Spinelli, Emmanuel. 2016. Composing with Schizo-narratives and Sonic Chorographies: The Territory of Disembodied Voices and the Perception of Acousmatic Identities. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This PhD focusses on the body of work that has emerged from the author’s compositional practice
between 2008 and 2015. It tackles a range of issues including (dark) tourism, identity and
remembrance, and the tensions between history, narrative and myth; from folklore practices to
postwar Eastern Europe and the Holocaust.

Three extended projects using field recordings and interviews as their primary source material are
examined: a soundscape study of Padstow, a composition dealing with the soundscapes of
historically-charged places, and an ongoing project that further explores issues of memory, narrative,
and myth-making. Through a detailed contextual investigation of these sound-works, the text
endeavours to provide a dialogue between the phonographies of the sites and voices featured in the
compositions and the social, historical, political and economic forces that have contributed to the
making (and metamorphosis) of these places and communities.

The author develops a number of notions including the construction of schizo-narratives: an editing
technique where fragments of interviews are reorganised to create unexpected and non-linear
narratives, and sonic chorographies: the use of field recordings to represent not only the fragmentary
delineations of a soundscape but also to operate a re-scaling of the elements depicted to highlight
crucial aspects of the socio-political fabric of a specific place. These elements lead to an investigation
of the territory of disembodied voices – the phenomenological mechanisms of interaction between
disembodied voices and the sonic environment – as well as a reflection on the perception of
acousmatic identities.

From the multitude of conflicting histories that underpin the origins and beliefs associated with the
Mayday festival to the problematic site transformations that have occurred in Krakow and Auschwitz
as a result of the Holocaust tourist trade; from the dislocated narratives of ‘twin language’ to the
imagined myths of the lost Jewish community of thirteenth century Hereford, this PhD endeavours to
show how disembodied voices and soundscapes might be creatively and conceptually explored
through plurality and contradiction, as a territory where no element is fixed, where no narrative is
crystallised, where identities are in constant motion, where meaning is always transient.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



soundscape, phonography, acousmatic music, identity, disembodied voice, narrative, schizo-narrative, sound art, dark tourism, Auschwitz, Folklore, Deleuze, Hereford, Golem, Body without Organs, sound and politics, sound and history, chorography, twin language, soundscape composition, Jewish history, myth, myth-making, Holocaust studies, memory, sonic remains

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



29 February 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2016 12:36

Last Modified:

15 May 2018 15:04

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/17033

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