Voice and Uncertainty, 2015


PhD Thesis Abstract


Voice and Uncertainty: Extended Mind and Embodied Cognition as Processes of Voice in Artists’ Moving Image

By Lyndsay Mann, 2015


Voice is an inconstant yet constantly performative material; it is our internally-housed, liminal technology. ‘Process of voice’ is the term I develop throughout this thesis to articulate materialities of voice and methods of address within processes of practice in artists’ moving image that ‘give voice’ to material and non-material forms. I interrogate this through a dynamic exchange with Extended Mind Theory and embodied cognition, two key concepts in Philosophy of Mind that concentrate (respectively) on the role of social and material structures in the construction of mind, and the complex ways in which bodily skills and action inform perception and thought. This research brings these concepts together with moving image practice for the first time, to explore an account of perception and process in relation to voice, which examines the liminal, inconstant and uncertain in subjective experience, and the ways in which this is extended into the social through a politics of embodied practice harnessed in moving images. I propose address-to-camera functions as form of extended mind, which manifests in an expectation to be heard, and produces a version of the speaking agent that requires more space in the world. Drawing on the work of screenwriter Dennis Potter, writer W. G. Sebald, and artist filmmaker Anne Charlotte Robertson, I make a case for the uncertain I-voice, which engages the fully embodied and openly subjective, to challenge established narratives and conventions of address, and the power and knowledge dynamics that structure them. I come to focus on the ‘uncertain acousmatic I-voice’ in moving image, which through its presentness, intimacy and acknowledgement of uncertainty relinquishes the acousmêtre’s threat of control to share a liminal territory of destabilized authority with the viewer.


Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

Supervisors: Prof Andy Clark (Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Philosophy)
Dr Sophia Lycouris (Reader in Interdisciplinary Choreography, School of Art)
Stuart Bennett (Deputy ECA Principle, School of Art)