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Vicarious Vocalities, Simulated Songs

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This virtual conference explores copied or imitative voices in popular culture, from Hollywood ghost singing to Dickie Beau and beyond.

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Vicarious Vocalities, Simulated Songs: Lost, Borrowed and Stolen Voices in Popular Culture

Organised in association with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Voice Studies and kindly supported by the School of Art, Design and Performance and Music, Dance, Drama and Performing Arts Research Group (Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth).

This two-day virtual conference explores the many and varied iterations of simulated, copied or imitative voices in popular culture from the early twentieth-century to the present day. Ranging in scope from the overdubbed ‘ghost singing’ of the Hollywood musical or Hindi cinema to the success of competitors on TV talent shows, lipsynching and identity politics, and the peculiarity of anthropomorphized canines on YouTube, the conference seeks to critically analyse the phenomena of such voices, drawing upon an international and interdisciplinary approach to uncover and understand the fascination with—and function—of these voices in popular culture, as sites of intersection related to individual identity, as part of the creative economy and with respect to the aesthetics of performance.

Its intention is to explore connections and finds new resonances between practices and current discourses such as ventriloquism (Steven Connor 2000), tribute acts (Shane Homan 2006; Georgina Gregory 2016), lipsynching (Caroline Langley 2006; Jacob Bird 2020; Merrie Snell 2020), karaoke (Rob Drew 2001; Kevin Brown 2015) or vocal emulation in bio-musicals and biopics (Millie Taylor 2012; Ben Macpherson 2020).

Video conference joining details will be available to all registered participants.

Full programme to be announced shortly.

For any inquiries regarding registration or the conference, please email vicariousvocalities@gmail.com.

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