The Auditory Imagination and the Polyphony of Listening: a study of Chantal Akerman’s South (1999)

Albertine Fox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

In this article I consider the presence of negative space in the form of imaginative listening spaces in Chantal Akerman's documentary South (1999). This article examines the workings of memory and imagination from an auditory perspective, aided by two conceptions of the imagination, set out by Hannah Arendt and Toni Morrison, which I equate to a process of listening. Focusing my attention on the ‘inverted face’ or ‘back’ of the face-to-face encounter, my study brings together Don Ihde's work on relative silence and the auditory imagination, Max Silverman's concept of ‘palimpsestic memory’ and Sara Ahmed's theorizing of a ‘politics of sides’. It suggests that a polyphonic mode of listening is required if the spectator is to see with doubled vision, beyond a racialized dichotomy, thereby gaining access to the ‘non-forms’ of hidden voices, stories and histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265–280
Number of pages16
JournalParagraph
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • listening
  • imagination
  • silence
  • race and racism
  • interviews
  • emotional memory
  • palimpsestic memory
  • landscape
  • Space

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