Use this sound: Networked ventriloquism on Yiddish TikTok

Ido Ramati*, Ruthie Abeliovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores body–voice entanglements in TikTok through the prism of ventriloquism. It suggests that TikTok is an app of network ventriloquism, that is, an audiovisual technology–based web of dissociations and reconfigurations of users’ bodies and voices. Yiddish serves as a case study for how TikTok’s features build an infrastructure for language, heritage, and cultural activism. We analyze YiddishToks as an instantiation of the ways TikTokers embody actual technolinguistic and ventriloquistic interconnections as well as bond with past generations. YiddishTokers interlace times and spaces and recontextualize Yiddish media history. TikTok’s algorithm participates in this reanimation of Yiddish’s past; it is a transparent, audible director that prompts the network off-stage. TikTok is an algorithmic network ventriloquism app that mediates between human and non-human voices.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This article is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Grant agreement No. 948150.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • Algorithmic culture
  • TikTok
  • Yiddish
  • heritage
  • language activism
  • participatory culture
  • synthetic voice
  • ventriloquism

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