Yoshida Ami’s Onkyō and the Persistently "Japanese" Body: Making (Electro)voice Sound


  • Gretchen Jude University of Utah


This essay examines the experimental vocal and electronic work of Yoshida Ami in the context of the Japanese onkyō movement of the turn of the millennium, developing the concept of “plasmatic voice” that addresses the assemblage of embodied vocal performance through audio technology. Understanding vocal performance as it circulates globally through digital media networks must be perforce include transcultural analysis of race, culture, and gender, as well as other salient identity categories dependent on context. The essay also closely examines common metaphors for audio devices (such as microphones) as part of a programmatic attempt to listen deeply to human and nonhuman sounding without relying on the normative human body as the centre of analysis. Instead, a process-based approach following Jasbir Puar’s combining of intersectionality alongside assemblage theory is undertaken.

Author Biography

Gretchen Jude, University of Utah

Gretchen Jude is a performing artist, a scholar of sound and electronic music in/from Japan, and assistant professor of film and media arts at the University of Utah (USA). Her work aims to synthesize and harmonize personal, embodied experience with the rapid changes in culture and machinery that both empower and impinge upon us. Jude’s writing has been published in Performance Philosophy, Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques, Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Theory, Sounding Out! A Sound Studies Blog, and Journal of Engaged Pedagogy, and her music has been released on Full Spectrum Records, Edgetone, and Susu Ultrarock Records. Jude collaborates extensively with choreographers and filmmakers and has studied a variety of performance practices, with over a decade living and working in Japan. She holds an MFA in electronic music and recording media from Mills College (California) and a PhD in performance studies (designated emphasis in sonic performance and practice) from the University of California, Davis, as well as certificates from Sawai Koto Institute (Tokyo) and Deep Listening Institute at Rensselaer Polytechnic (New York).