A little piece of the reel: Record production and the surplus of prosthetic vocality

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    Lacan positioned the voice as a partial object equally vital as the gaze to the constitution of subjectivity. Perceptually disembodied from yet fundamental to the subject, the voice for Lacan was one of only a few primordial phantasms that possessed the capacity to bridge (and, by consequence, simultaneously rupture) the Symbolic/Imaginary divide. The voice is, in Žižek’s own turn of phrase, a "little piece of the Real."1 Theorists who have taken up Lacan’s general observations on the voice are gradually emerging, marking what appears to be a vocal turn in Lacanian cultural theory. Chion’s initial film scholarship on acousmatic sound,2 for instance, has proven influential on Žižek, who over several works situates the voice as an intruder in subjectivity, a sinthomatic contour of the maternal superego that saddles the potential for jouissance in the undoing of the structural apparition of the Other. Consistent amongst Žižek’s diffuse writings is the following observation on the voice: it is the surplus of signification sewn to the word like a virtual prosthetic experienced all at once as pleasure and pain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationZizek and Media Studies
    Subtitle of host publicationA Reader
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9781137361516
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2014


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