Brandon Labelle - Lexicon Of the Mouth
The laugh as a revolutionary promise? The whisper as a spirited mythology? Stuttering and reciting, eating and kissing… it’s the mouth where it all happens, AND where you, as a person, relate to your environment.
Lexicon of the Mouth surveys the oral cavity as the central channel by which self and surrounding are brought into relation. Questions of embodiment and agency, attachment and loss, incorporation and hunger, locution and the non-sensical are critically examined. In doing so, LaBelle emphasizes the mouth as a vital conduit for negotiating “the foundational narrative of proper speech.” Lexicon of the Mouth aims for a viscous, poetic and resonant discourse of subjectivity. The oral cavity is posed as an impressionable arena, susceptible to all types of material input, contamination and intervention, while also enabling powerful forms of resistance, attachment and conversation, as well as radical imagination.
Assumptions around voice and vocality are unsettled in favor of an epistemology of the oral, highlighting the acts of the tongue, the lips and the throat as primary mediations between interior and exterior, social structures and embodied expressions. LaBelle makes a significant contribution to currents in sound and voice studies by reminding that to hear the voice, and to consider a politics of speech, is first and foremost to assume the mouth.
“To simultaneously emancipate the ear and the mouth is a great accomplishment. To do so with care and love a gift. Lexicon of the Mouth offers erudite ruckus, expansive erotics, destabilizing poetics, liberatory politics. By revealing how ‘the drama of the mouth’ is greater than that of the word, Brandon LaBelle opens new horizons for performance, music, and the sound arts.” – Allen S. Weiss, Performance Studies and Cinema Studies, New York University
Table Of Contents
1. Bite, Chew, Eat
2. Burp, Choke, Cough, Gag, Spit, Vomit
3. Cry, Scream, Shout, Sing
4. Gasp, Growl, Grunt, Sigh, Yawn
5. Gibberish, Gobbledygook
6. Inner voice, Self-talk
7. Kiss, Lick, Suck
9. Murmur, Whisper
10. Lisp, Mute, Stutter
11. Recite, Repeat, Vow
Paperback, 232 pages, 15 b/w illustrations.