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A Voice That Is Not Mine: Terror and the Mythology of the Technological Voice

A Voice That Is Not Mine: Terror and the Mythology of the Technological Voice

Chapter:
(p.325) 16 A Voice That Is Not Mine: Terror and the Mythology of the Technological Voice
Source:
The Voice as Something More
Author(s):
Tom Gunning
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226656427.003.0017

The human voice carried through technology (the phonograph, the radio, the cinema) becomes in effect disembodied, separated from the living human being that originally produced it. Such technological mediation redefined not only the embodied nature of the voice but its spatial nature. Radio signals could pass over the airwaves ignoring national borders. Further, this free-floating voice took on uncanny psychological effects, seeming to invade the consciousness of the hearer. The early sound films of Fritz Lang, such as The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), explored the narrative possibilities of this disembodied technological voice, as did his unfilmed script LB2 in which the voice of Hitler seems to persist on the airwaves after his death.

Keywords:   technology, radio, cinema, Fritz Lang, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Adolf Hitler, voice, the uncanny

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