15:00 - 16:00
Destructive Interferences: A Conversation on Sound as Violence

Short thesis

The use of sound as a weapon has dwelled for a long time in the collective imaginary – from the biblical "Trumpets of Jericho" to bowel-ripping Infrasound beams. However, more and more real acoustic warfare advances towards becoming designed everyday commodities in civilian life. In this session we will discuss and act on the political, social and cultural designs of sound as violence, collectively constructing a critical understanding of sound and its politics.


In this session we will explore the process of aestheticization of violence, having its focus on one specific type of aggression: that with/through sound. More and more Acoustic Devices are deployed in military and law enforcement contexts in order to contain so-called "political turmoil", to inflict pain, and to obliterate subjectivities – good examples being Drones, Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs), and even "Youth Deterrent Devices".

We hypothesize that weapons like these might soon enough penetrate our everyday lives in the shape of consumer products. To explore this hypothesis, we start from a semi-fictional story to invite action and discussion as to why, how, and when this complex political intertwining designs objects of desire and entertainment, and hence becomes part of an overall sense of normalcy in society. 

The session works partly within a suspension of disbelief, in which participants will be invited to assume roles, discuss, and help fill out "missing gaps" in this story about possible unfoldings of violence with and through sound. In doing so, we aim to foster an engaging debate around a subject that often goes unnoticed in society – let alone in discussions about technology and the future. We hope participants leave interested in knowing more, extend what they already know, or even ask themselves new questions.