The Object Voice

Phonology was killing the voice: the negative nature of the linguistic sign, it’s purely differential and oppositive value (Saussure) have been eliminated the voice as the supposedly natural soil of speech. Contrarily Dolar argues and demonstrates that the phenomenon of Voice is in fact far more uncanny and slippery, and already inclusive of difference, than Derrida gives it credit for. The voice always stands in between: in between body and language, in between biology and culture, in between inside and outside, in between subject and Other, in between mere sound or noise and meaningful articulation. Dolar focuses on the „object voice”, the voice as paradoxical objet petit a, in explicit contrast to two tendencies. On the one hand, there is the metaphysical sort of understanding that would ignore the quality of the voice, ignore its physicality, in order just to extract its signification, its Symbolic import, the meaning of its words. To do this, of course, is to miss the whole point of the voice, to ignore its uncanny presence. On the other hand, there is the converse aestheticization of the voice, the failure that comes from “turn[ing] it into an object of aesthetic pleasure, an object of veneration and worship, the bearer of a meaning beyond any ordinary meanings. The aesthetic concentration on the voice loses the voice precisely by turning it into a fetish object”.

Released: Replika 77, 59–76.
Replika block:
Balázs Berkovits