(In)habiting film sound: cinesomatic narratives and sonic embodiments
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:06 authored by Alison Claire Walker
"...our body is comparable to a work of art. It is a nexus of living meanings..." (Merleau-Ponty, 2012:175). This thesis proposes the concept of cinesomatics to theorise how embodiment is conceptually and materially central to cinema sound design. Moving beyond existing studies of audience immersion and textual analysis, this research draws out practitioner accounts of sound work to investigate the corporeal participation of sound professionals in cinematic storytelling. This study valorises lived experience as the grounds of research and philosophies of film sound, and firmly places the body of the practitioner in film sound theory. It demonstrates how these often 'invisible' and 'inaudible' bodies come to matter in the industrial and cultural frameworks that produce film work. This mitigates the tendency to minimise or obscure realities as subjectively lived by sound professionals. Analysis is drawn from interviews with industry practitioners working in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States and Brazil, as well as a survey administered anonymously through the Australian Screen Sound Guild. These practitioners work in a diversity of sound roles, including location recording, Foley, sound design, sfx and dialogue editing and mixing. A key discovery of this research is how both past and present lived experiences of sound practitioners co-create and navigate sonic materials for film. The cinesomatic model of film sound demonstrates how practitioner embodied knowledges and rich sensory experiences render sonic storytelling. Yet it has also found significant implications of how sound work can negatively impact embodiment of the practitioners, particularly regarding physical and mental health. This contributes to problematizing popular conceptions of these creative roles and practices, and also deepens the understandings of how professional sound work is not only technical work but also bodywork. This research contributes to widening theoretical understandings of the way in which cinematic sonic meaning is constituted across, among, and within, senate bodies. It also facilitates a paradigmatic shift in discussions about film sound production, transposing technical discussions to embodied ones --abstract.