I’m investigating detachment of voice from the body within this work. For me, this includes subtitle, Voiceover and lip-syncing. These theatrical devises are all planted within the same field but are far apart, I hope to identify where these devices are planted and explore what happens when I walk between them
Voiceover is what I instantly think of when I think about body/voice detachment in performance. In Semi-detached I give my voice to a cardboard box; it’s important that I spoke as myself first as a neutral test so the audience is clear about when my voice is attached from me and when it becomes detached.
I’ve extended the term voice to also mean text. I believe the text works in a similar way to voiceover in creating a duality and a distance. The use of text, however creates an openness that differs from voiceover. Anyone could have said these texts, there is ambiguity as to where the texts are coming from. I’m interested in exploring this ambiguity.
Lip Syncing Is the located the furthest away from voiceover and subtitling. It detached the voice but then attempts to re-embody the voice. Lip-syncing only becomes successful if when the audience is aware that the voice is not coming directly from the body. Instead the voice is detached and then re-attached or re-embodied. This creates less of a distance than the other two theatrical devices but opens up a whole other world of enriching research possibilities.
When I first wrote about this performance, I suggested that my queerness sat outside of social norms. When pressed to define these social norms, I began questioning my queerness. All of the social norms listed are norms of capitalism, and queerness (mine included) can fit within all of the norms I outline in this performance. I still believe that my queerness detaches me from heteronormativity and makes me feel something that becomes difficult to pin down in words; something wrapped up in my decision to making theatre and making art my life purpose.
Britpop was a genre of music popular in Britain in 1990’s. It’s associated with nostalgic notational optimism that was utilised by the left wing Labour party to come to power in 1997. I recently heard the song ‘Boys & Girls” by Blur on the radio. At a party a few days later the song ‘Disco 2000’ by Pulp played. I couldn’t get these two songs and their link to nationalism out of my head. I’ve been thinking about what it means to be British lately and I’m using Britpop in this performance to make me feel nostalgic and optimistic about the country I’m from.
Brexit was once dubbed ‘a divorce’ from the European Union. I didn’t want to talk about Brexit but It’s part of the reason I ended up in the Netherlands and therefore ended up perusing this course. I think Brexit is abhorrent but it has also caused something positive in my life by pushing me to leave the UK just before I couldn’t. If Brexit could be seen as a divorce, it could also be viewed as a detachment. I feel like I am now semi-detached to the UK.
I have referenced some lyrics of the song ‘New Shapes’ by Charlie XCX. I can not stop listening to it lately and I think the lyrics resonate with how I feel about queerness, Brexit and research on detachment.
TEXT (As Appears in Video)
Norm 1: A job
Steady, good money, a career path, stability, Beers on Friday
Norm 2: A Partner
Norm 3: Mortgage
Norm 4: I do
Norm 5: Birth
Norm 6: Death
And I now pronounce Brian and Margarita man and wife
I baptise thee exPat, daughter of Brian and Margarita
But this is just capitalism
I think queerness is much more profound
It covers a sexual identity ranging from men to women and all those intelligent enough to transcend gender
and dancing, being an artist and dancing
The dancefloor is the at the heart of queerness
I don't know why I got a tendency to run away
Don't know why I'm always pushing for a sweet escape
Even though I feel so close
I just can't control how I feel
And I gotta be free
Need to breathe
But sometimes I need
We could fall in love in new shapes
And recently I’ve been thinking about Britpop
And housing and loneliness and why
and feeling like I exist in two separate worlds
And this nostalgic optimism of Britain in the 90’s
and every morning I eat two chocolate croissants from Albert Hein
And maybe it’s just November But I’m feeling cold and out of sorts
And I’d like it all to change
And love in the 90’s, It’s paradise, is paranoid
And now there is this pessimistic nationalism
And then there is this separation going on, this divorce, this detachment
And I’m really painting a white horse white now
As my friend Danny would tell me
Or painting a white horse, red and blue
And it feels impossible now I’m semi- detached from it
And we shouldn’t laugh, as it’s fucking dangerous
And it’ll only encourage him
But we can’t help laugh at the absurdity
And I should be enraged at such hollow metaphors
And that’s all I’m doing is displaying empty metaphors
And I keep scrolling through Grindr and Instagram
And the heart symbol is stitched into every thread of code
But just the outline
And I heart peoples selfies and nudes and comments
And I’m sad, drained and a little bit empty but of course I have to remain,
And I plug in my headphones
And I let Damon and Jarvis remind me
And I think I’ve become detached from what I set out to do here,
And I must mention the norms,
And the hetro’s
And how I think I sit outside of their world
But I know that I don’t.
And I think about how awful it must be to be heteronormative
And the more I question it, the more lost I become
And I feel like I’m performing it,
Like it’s a performance
But I like performing,
And I know the future,
And I know that the future is queer and I’ve got a semi.