October 26, 2012

Incarceration and Heteroglossia

Its interesting to use the word heteroglossia in a subject such as prison inmates, they don't seem to coincide with one another but this article does exactly that. Every prisoner is a voice and the culmination of those voices linked by an author is heteroglossia. A prison is actually the perfect setting for this term because inmates more than any other humans within our country yearn for the ability to be heard. They want to be heard because nobody has listened since the day they were incarcerated.  If an inmate pleads his/her innocence that is more or less in denial of their crimes and their voices are immediately dismissed by the general listener. If an inmate excepts his/her crime they are condemned as criminals and still nobody will listen to them. Lets think about the prisoner voice for a second. The prisoner since the day he/she was busted has created a new voice inside their  head that either accepts what they have done or dismisses any such crime, and that is it, they are left to dwell. In no other situation in our country is somebody left to dwell on their mistakes for such an extensive period of time(a sentence). Its this psychology that author Daniel wanted to capture. Incarceration is a period of reflection like no other and if someone is given the chance to expel their inner monologues of the experience, I'd listen, its the perfect opportunity for heteroglossia.


A Cycene said...

In terms of Daniels' heteroglossia, do you think she chose the right format by including only sound bytes of the prisoners? Although she designed her website to format a prison, with the bars and chunks like a cell, do you think it would have been too much for her to put in actual pictures of the prison? What format of the heteroglossia would be best suited for her case which would make you want to listen to the prisoners? If we had pictures of them or videos, do you think that would be beneficial or work against the project?

John Smith said...

It [heteroglossia] is definitely present, but, I can't help but feel it doesn't operate in the same way as it does in the novel. Heterglossia in a "critique" (or whatever someone can rationalize this to be) seems to function in a different way, albeit, for a similar end goal. While the novel combines voice in a simultaneous performance, this project gives very clear boundaries to each voice (author, subjects, innamtes). Moreover, does the prison system itself affect the concept of heteroglot? Surely, there are multiple peoples from different walks of life in the prison, but those differences, in occupation, and location, don't seem to come through. Instead, you receive the in-mates as bearing only one voice, the voice of the prisoner.

Jenny said...

Daniel's idea of bringing all of these voices together in such a way is fascinating. Not only is the audience able to listen to a perception of an inmate, but many inmates with many different stories. Daniel gives these women a voice and they take full advantage of the opportunity. They know that their voices need to be heard and they don't hold anything back. I like how you referred to it as a "period of reflection", it demonstrates more the opportunity that Daniel is giving these to these inmates and basically giving them a voice that they have been without for so long.

lvg10 said...

I think that Daniel's main focus was on the ability to be heard. These incarcerated women have no voice in society and by giving this vast, layered form of communication where they're voices break through in such a strong way is what gives the medium a lot of power. By allowing the user to choose the information, hear it, read it gives the opportunity for these women's voices to have impact. A Cyene asked if including only soundbites took away from the women's voices and I have to say that I don't think that it did. To me, it was stronger, because these are usually nameless and faceless women the focus on their words was impactful.

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