Language as a Material Process

Redhead, L. 2020. Language as a Material Process. Contemporary Music Review, 39(3), ISSN 0749-4467 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article examines Julia Kristeva’s (1984) ideas of significance and negativity as facets of the meaning-making process, ‘productive violence’ and revolutionary practice of art that employs what she describes as ‘creative textual practice’. It describes the use of text, language and text-based practices in contemporary works by the author and other artists including Annette Schmucki, Amanda Stewart and Annette Iggulden. These practices embrace the familiar, unfamiliar and uncanny by intertwining the symbolic and semiotic aspects of written and spoken textual communication through concrete poetry, sound poetry and textual processes that originate from the Oulipo movement. In particular, the employment of dialect, ‘dead’ languages and layers of intelligibility is explored alongside what Estelle Barrett—in her reading of Kristeva—describes as the ‘hyper-differentiated realm of latent and possible values and meanings’ in the work. (Barrett 2011, 19) This reading considers the way that creative textual practices themselves highlight the performative properties of text and considers the material process of language within feminist creative practice and discourse. As a result, I argue for a materialism in which text, speech or language are valued for their shape, appearance or sound, rather than their meaning or role in communication.

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11 August 2020Accepted
6 October 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Oct 2020 10:37

Last Modified:

06 Apr 2022 01:26

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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