“Sound can be deployed to produce discomfort, express a threat, or create an ambience of fear or dread–to produce a bad vibe. Sonic weapons of this sort include the ‘psychoacoustic correction’ aimed at Panama strongman Manuel Noriega by the U.S. Army and at the Branch Davidians in Waco by the FBI, sonic booms (or “sound bombs”) over the Gaza Strip, and high-frequency rat repellants used against teenagers in malls. At the same time, artists and musicians generate intense frequencies in the search for new aesthetic experiences and new ways of mobilizing bodies in rhythm. In Sonic Warfare, Steve Goodman explores these uses of acoustic force and how they affect populations.

Traversing philosophy, science, fiction, aesthetics, and popular culture, he maps a (dis)continuum of vibrational force, encompassing police and military research into acoustic means of crowd control, the corporate deployment of sonic branding, and the intense sonic encounters of sound art and music culture.

Goodman concludes with speculations on the not yet heard–the concept of unsound, which relates to both the peripheries of auditory perception and the unactualized nexus of rhythms and frequencies within audible bandwidths”.

Following Steve Goodman’s research, which investigates the scope of the vibrational force as a political tool and means of influence, El Cocuy has invited the author to consider the issues contained in his book Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear (MIT 2010) also in the light of the recent social and political events.

2nd of September 2015, 6.30 pm
Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation
PalazzettoTito, Dorsoduro 2826, Venice Italy

Participants: Steve Goodman; Tommaso Gorla, Alessio Sacchetto (El Cocuy); Martina Raponi.

* * *

Steve Goodman is an independent researcher, a member of sonic research cell AUDINT and the CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit), is founder of the record label Hyperdub and is DJ/producer under the name Kode9. He wrote the book Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect and the Ecology of Fear (MIT Press 2010).

Martina Raponi is an independent curator and researcher, currently based in Amsterdam. Her first book, Strategie del Rumore. Interferenze tra arte, filosofia e underground (Milano, Auditorium Ed., 2015), gathers the results of her research about Noise. Among her newest projects: B-Prod (Amsterdam, NL) and Csepel Industrial Music Label (Budapest, HU).

* * *

A big thank you to Associazione Culturale Interzona and Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation.

Image: Charles Féré, Sensation and Movement, 1887



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