Issue 9: Voice/s

Autumn 2009

Voice stands as a defining feature of the arts; even its absence is crucial to interpreting meaning. The issue of voice is central to cultures throughout history, to different genres, styles, and periods. A voice of the people, a voice of one's own, and a writer's voice - each depicts the importance of voice to subjectivity and subject-formation, to origins and originality. Stephen M. Ross describes voice as the essence of a story, noting that "a story - its persons and places, its deeds and disappointments - may be nothing more than the voice that tells it." The same is true for a story told in any medium, through art, music, film, drama, literature: it has, in Ross's words, "no existence without voice, before or after voice, beyond or behind voice."

Voice serves a crucial role in the development of our own subjectivity and sense of identity, but can there be such a thing as an objective voice? We need to problematise the concept of voice, its possible meanings and implications. How can voices be employed and created in different mediums, and to what effect? Who is given a voice, to whom is it denied, and what are the implications of voice versus silence? And what of non-human voices? How are voices used in dialogue to explore, to express, to create, to question? How has voice been wielded to achieve such aims, and can it be? Can it be truly captured, can it be manipulated?