Henri Chopin (1922–2008) is best known for his work in concrete poetry and sound poetry. Both practices evoked a Dada legacy, but this paper considers Chopin as an essentially postwar figure. Through examination of his writings, the paper charts the intellectual background of Chopin’s sound works—created using his mouth, magnetic tape, and microphones—and argues Antonin Artaud and Marshall McLuhan were important sources for Chopin’s personal artistic theories. Borrowing from both thinkers, Chopin attempted to recover an orality lost within written language, finding what he called the “human sound” at the junction of the human vocal anatomy and magnetic tape. Additionally considered are Chopin’s experiences in labor camps during the period of Vichy fascism as one motivation for his attempts to find a language to communicate the uncommunicable.

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