FOLEY GESTURE: TOWARDS A THEORY OF ACOUSMATIC FOLEY
The research project “Acousmatic Foley” addresses common traits between foley art and Concrete Music, based on the idea that the foley artist is an acousmatic listener and, in turn, that acousmatic listening is a form of fiction. In this line, the study argues that both fields have similar treatment of the “sonorous object”. For this purpose, the research builds on two lines of thought: the “son-en-scène” and the “mise-en-son”. Firstly, the “son-en-scène” focuses on the sounds of the filmic mise-en-scène (and its sound props), from very early cases to contemporary instances. The focus on these sound-props provides a perspective of sound for film that emphasizes its role as a tool of fiction and, thus, foley as the craft that leads to that experience. Secondly, “mise-en-son” sheds light on the making of the sound itself by exploring the concept of musical gesture. Either in contexts in which the musical gesture is visible (as with instruments), more cryptic (as with electronic devices), or completely delegated (as in acousmatic music), gesture can be seen a form of agency. Given that foley consists of maneuvering a sound-prop, gesture is as central to foley as it is to musical practices. This paper focus on the idea that gesture carries the same conception as the “sonorous object”, that of an “intentional unit”. In line with this, and in particular when of acousmatic nature, the research argues that the sonorous object is analogous to the sound-prop. In the end, these two lines of thought (son-en-scènce and mise-en-son) bridge the poietic and esthetic, as in Nattiez’s semiotic distinction, towards an experience of “acousmatic foley”.
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