Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Sonic Space and Echoes of the Flesh

Textual and Phenomenal Readings of Gravity

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2020), 14, (2), 119–139.

Abstract

This essay argues that the cinematic experience for audiences be reconsidered as a cinesomatic experience. Theorists such as Vivian Sobchack (1992; 2000; 2005) and Jennifer Barker (2009) have done much to conceptualise and theorise a sensory, embodied experience of cinema. These scholars, mainly drawing from either a Merleau-Pontian phenomenology or a Spinozist/Deleuzian theory of affect, have led the wave of new writings probing the ways in which audience engagement with film is corporeal. Their work explores cinema in terms of visual and haptic engagements, congruous with a broader move in scholarship towards the sensorial. However, despite the growth of embodied film theory in recent years, there is an even greater need to take the sensorial model of cinema spectatorship to film sound. This essay addresses cinema sound in specifically corporeal terms, demonstrating how audience experiences of film sound can be reconsidered as cinesomatic. By drawing a textual and phenomenological reading of the sound design in Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, 2013), this essay aims to reveal new insights into the materially rich experience of a film’s soundtrack and demonstrate how a multiplicity of ‘narratives’ converge during and beyond the cinema encounter.

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Author details

WALKER, ALISON