Jenny Hval has written a book.
Inn I Ansiktet (Sings With Her Eyes) is about the evils of the visual media: the murky footage of a naked Paris Hilton, images of the terrified Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street, the bizarre caricatures from Paradise Hotel. It’s about making your voice heard through feedback at a rock concert, about the way the voice changes when you speak another language, and about being harassed by a stranger in Perth.
But again and again Hval returns to Carl Th. Dreyer’s 1928 silent movie Jeanne d’Arc, to which she performed music in 2011; to the face of Renée Falconetti, the actress who embodied Jeanne; to a woman who heard the voice of God inside her own body.
Inn I Ansiktet is a fascinating, critical exploration of the voice; what it means, what it expresses. Jenny Hval’s personal experiences as a musician and singer illuminate – and are illuminated by – intriguing reflections on the female voice, on its constraints and its transgressive potential, as these appear in art and popular culture.