Voices Without a Body: Celebrity at the Time of the Pandemic
Keywords:Pandemic, Performance, Voice, Celebrity Culture, Italy
The COVID-19 pandemic has appeared as a propelling force to creative movements for actors’ self-promotion, while at the same time causing an enforced desertion of the venues of their physical exposure. The range and degree of famous people body’s mediation was limited by the pandemic to the domestic sphere and to non-professional resources, which induced an unprecedented likeness of celebrities’ private lives to those of their spectators. Such leveling and the disappearance of public bodies have generated specific cultural meaning in Italy. They have reinforced the positioning of actors at the center of the nation's civic values. Io sono... Italia (2021) is a short inspirational film celebrating the national effort in the face of the emergency. Exploiting on the disembodied voice-over acting of an ensemble of actors and entertainers, it evokes a common condition: the disappearence of the body imposed by the pandemic. This essay investigates such issues through the analysis of the non-localized and mobile voice. It sets the voice-over of Io sono... Italia against the background of a variety of vocal uses in the contemporary media experience, especially those that induce greater intimacy with the viewer. It underscores how this product narrows acoustically the distance between the listener and the speaker and foregrounds a choral musicality, therefore reflecting the new proxemics of the quarantine and reverberating a fantasy of equality triggered by the pandemic.
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