Leonora Carrington’s Sonic Imagination on Screen: Intermedial Textures and Audio-visual Found Objects in the Docufiction Female Human Animal (2018)

LORA MARKOVA

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    The Surrealist artist and writer Leonora Carrington renders her sonic imagination in her novel The Hearing Trumpet (1976) whose ‘subversive intertextuality’ has been conceptualized by Susan Suleiman in Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-Garde (1990). The recent docufiction Female Human Animal (Josh Appignanesi 2018) re-cycles Carrington’s intertextual symbolic system into a form of social surrealism that problematizes the role of creative women in the contemporary art world. Shot on a rare 1986 VHS camera, this hybrid documentary enacts the inner life of the Mexican novelist Chloe Aridjis, who is haunted by Carrington’s paintings and an aural nostalgia for her synth-pop youth. Female Human Animal is scored by Andy Cooke and features performances by Yasmine Kittles from the electro-industrial duo Tearist and Aridjis herself. Andy McCluskey from the synth-pop pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) composed the central theme The Daughter of the Minotaur that intertextually corresponds to Carrington’s painting And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur (1953) – a satirical gesture on the male-centric Surrealist magazine Minotaure (1933-39).
    This paper explores Appignanesi’s aesthetic re-use of surrealist tropes and found objects, e.g. the recurring visual motif of plastic as a metaphor for suffocating patriarchal relationships, re-contextualized found-sound leitmotifs that evoke the protagonists’ unconscious and found-footage interviews with Leonora Carrington. The intermedial textures between Carrington’s re-mediated paintings, the video medium and the synth soundtrack have been analyzed in terms of Dick Higgins’s conceptualization of intermedia (1966), which suggests that the formal disruption of medium specificities is also politically subversive.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019
    EventMusic and the Moving Image - New York University - Steinhardt , New York, United States
    Duration: 31 May 20192 Jun 2019
    https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/composition/scoring/conference

    Conference

    ConferenceMusic and the Moving Image
    Abbreviated titleMaMI
    CountryUnited States
    CityNew York
    Period31/05/192/06/19
    Internet address

    Keywords

    • Leonora Carrington
    • surrealism
    • intermedia
    • video art
    • documentary

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