Region/Concept: North America, Body (Dubbing)
Sub-concepts: Exhaustion, Resonance, History
Description: Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq creates a live soundtrack for the 1922 silent film Nanook of the North.

A famous scene in Nanook stages an encounter with a phonograph—a scene deliberately rehearsed to make the protagonist seem naïve when faced with the stored sounds on the disk. Funny, since that was the same technology that Edison had failed to fully integrate with moving pictures. We watch the phonograph instead of hearing it, while the man on screen feigns wonder as he listens. Until another sort of stored sound emerges, this time Tagaq’s live soundtrack, which both dramatizes the physical heroism of this early documentary and reveals the singer’s own effort and extenuation. The film ends up being dubbed in some way–not just by the voice and other instruments, but also by the physicality of the singer on stage.

Posted by: Craig Epplin