Vibrant Echoes: A Material Semiotics of the Voice in Music by Iris Garrelfs and Marlo Eggplant

Redhead, L. 2020. Vibrant Echoes: A Material Semiotics of the Voice in Music by Iris Garrelfs and Marlo Eggplant. Contemporary Music Review, 39(5), pp. 564-579. ISSN 0749-4467 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the materiality of the voice outside of the body in two performances by Iris Garrelfs and Marlo Eggplant. It considers, beyond the body and beyond text, how the voice might be addressed as material in and of itself. In this consideration, the voice is not only a means of delivering text or creating sound in performance, and nor is it (only) expressive of the body: rather, its material and spatial dimensions can be located in physical space and outside of the body. Through this approach, Echo is not understood through her lack of a material body or vocal agency, but as the agentive aspect of the voice that is already vibrant—as described by Jane Bennett—and material-discursive—as described by Karen Barad. Using John Law’s considerations of materiality, heterogeneity, semiotic relationality, process and its precarity, and space and scale within Actor Network Theory, I consider how the materialism of the voice can be mapped as/to a network of interrelations in both real and imagined spaces. This network is explored in contemporary experimental performances that employ the voice as material: Lauschen (2016/18) by Iris Garrelfs, for voice and listening cones, and Marlo Eggplant’s September 2018 performance for voice and electronics at the Fortprocess festival. Through these works, I describe the material agency of the voice as a ‘vibrant echo’.

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“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Contemporary Music Review on 10 December 2022, available at: It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.”


performance, Iris Garrelfs, Marlo Eggplant, vibrant echo

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1 September 2020Accepted
10 December 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

10 Jun 2022 16:36

Last Modified:

15 Jun 2022 09:02

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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