For More Than One Voice – quotations from PA Skantze

Quotations from Adriana Cavarero’s For More than One Voice: Towards a Philosophy of Vocal Expression. A King places himself immobile in aural surveillance of his realm, spying by ear until he hears a woman who he cannot see singing.

‘It takes at least a duet, a calling and a responding == or, better, a reciprocal intention to listen…’

‘The fact that this outside is inhabited by a woman ends up being a kind of homage to the tradition, and yet it also poses a challenge to it.  Indeed, the woman here does not represent the usual primitiveness of the extrapolitical sphere but rather the genuine truth of a vocal that forces the political to account for itself in ways that it had not foreseen. ‘

‘Destined for the ear of another, the voice implies a listener== or better, a reciprocity of pleasure’

‘Discovering that he has a body, that he has one life to live, the listening king sings.  But, then, obviously he is no longer king, but rather a human being rooted in his fundamental ontological condition.  The simple truth of the vocal makes the crown fall without anyone ever hearing the crash.’

‘Philosophy’s strategic deafness to the plural, reciprocal communications of voices depends precisely on the methodological decision, so to speak, to ignore the elementary materiality of this phenomenon….[Caverero’s work] seeks to understand speech from the perspective of voice instead of from the perspective of language.’

PA Skantze is a writer, director and Reader in performance practice at Roehampton University. Her book Itinerant Spectator/Itinerant Spectacle will be out in Dec 2013.


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