Interesting that my daughter would turn and say, Mom! What is it with you and voices lately? Thesis thoughts creep into my conversation on the way back from the grocery store. Sheesh, I was just wishing (out loud) that I had a nicer voice. Bella replied, You do have a nice voice – it’s friendly [pause] well, most of the time [pause] well, not when you’re yelling.

From the mouth of babes. yikes.
I have been thinking about Janet Cardiff’s voice. The beguiling voice that prompts us to be her friend, to trust her and do as she bids. Via telephones, and now cell phones we have become so acclimated to bodiless voices. Right now Bella is walking around talking to her dad on the phone. She operates at that split level of consciousness with total agility. She is there with him and here with me. When she was home alone at my parents’ house, hearing my voice made her feel safer until they came home. My voice created a companionable comfort, even though I was talking to her from 2,000 miles away.

The voice of the spectral companion in the audio Walks is always named ‘J’ or even straight out, ‘Janet,’ but it should not be confused with Janet, the living, breathing artist, anymore than we should confuse Legolas with Orlando Bloom. The artist Janet Cardiff creates an auditory holograph that gives us the impression that we are interacting with somebody.

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