portrait Bulut

Zeynep Bulut

Fellow 11-13

Music / Sound Studies / Psychoanalysis / Philosophy


Zeynep Bulut is currently a Lecturer in Music at King's College London. She received her Ph.D. in Critical Studies/Experimental Practices in Music from the University of California at San Diego in 2011. Prior to her doctoral education, she studied sociology (B.A.), opera, and visual arts (M.A.) in Istanbul, Turkey. Situated in the fields of voice, experimental music and sound studies, her work theorizes the physical and phenomenal emergence of the human voice and its role in the constitution of the self. Her broader research interests include historical epistemologies of hearing, anthropology of senses and affect, deaf performance and culture, and voice and speech disorders in the history of science and medicine. She is currently working on her book, entitled Skin-Voice: Contemporary Music Between Speech and Language. Her most recent publication, "Singing and a song: The Intimate Difference in Susan Philipsz' Lowlands," appeared in the volume Gestures of Music Theatre: The Performativity of Song and Dance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). Alongside her scholarly work, she has also exhibited sound works, and composed and performed vocal pieces for concert, video and theatre.

ICI Project (2011-13)

Skin-Voice: Contemporary Music Between Speech and Language

Based on a particular aesthetics in contemporary classical music, which deconstructs the linguistic order of verbal language and which amplifies the unnoticed sounds of the human body, this project suggests a new conception of the human voice: β€œla voix-peau,” skin-voice. Drawing on French psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu's notion of "le moi-peau," skin-ego, I theorize the human voice as the first tactile envelope, as skin. By this I mean the embodied sound, which stems from the whole body as well as the vocal folds. I examine the following questions: Can we situate the sensory and affective experiences of sound at the heart of the human voice? Can we conceive the voice as an assemblage of bodily sounds, as a physical and phenomenal matrix of senses, a primary point of contact and difference between self and the external world? Is it possible to appropriate such a designation of the voice for unsettling the discursive categories of language, speech and self? In light of these questions, skin-voice can be considered a potential space – a medium of constructive tension – that reveals the multiple facets of the self between speech and language. The aim is to investigate how our voices can communicate the self without being reduced to mediums for verbal language.

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