In the encounter between the historical avant-gardes and changes in communication technologies, literature has opened itself up to the materialities of sound, voice and performance. This process was accelerated and intensified by both mediation and technical reproduction up until the digital revolution, which eventually led to the historical and technological specificity of the post-digital situation. Suffering the effects of massification, the process operated to a large extent on a scene of “re-oralization”, although by then within the historical setting of a “secondary orality”. From the more avant-garde to the more massified environments, from Sound Poetry to Spoken Word or Slam Poetry, without overlooking the vast intermediate territory of “readings (or recitations) of poetry”, it is safe to admit that planet literature has become aware of those ever-growing dimensions: phonetic poetry, sound poetry, recordings of literary texts (either by their own authors or other readers), setting of poems to music (especially in those cases in which the voice is not turned into singing, thus sabotaging the form of “song”), poetry and narrative live readings, spoken word, slam poetry, rap.

MATLIT’s volume 5 is thus intent on exploring what we call literature as VOX MEDIA: voice as a medium for literature and the disturbances suffered by the medium caused by the combined effects of performance and technologies for mediation, representation and reproduction. And also other instances, such as the tensions between the body and technology, audibility v. inaudibility of text, sound and meaning, physical presence and/or absence of the authors, and so forth. The goal is not only that of generating a catalogue or a compendium of the contemporary effects of VOX MEDIA on the notion of literature, but that of generating an archaeology for VOX MEDIA and for all related phenomena repressed by their historical invisibility.

Osvaldo Manuel Silvestre (CLP, University of Coimbra)
Felipe Cussen (IEA, University of Santiago de Chile)

Published: 2018-01-30