||«Sound as a Weapon», Juliette Volcler (FR), Sonic Lecture
From the second World War on, scientific research on the military and police uses of sound developed. The idea was no longer to alert, to detect, to intimidate the enemy or to stimulate the troops, but to exploit the biological effects of sound. Indeed, depending on their frequency and amplitude, acoustic waves (which are mechanical vibrations) can have a powerful effect not only on the ear, but on the whole body. They also bear the great quality, from the user’s perpective, to achieve the same results as other so called «non lethal» weapons, while at the same time defusing any criticism and blurring the public debate. We will go through the history of the many failures the research on acoustic weapons is made of and on the few devices or practices that have emerged from it. We will walk on a thin line between the rumours the failures have fed and the denials the actual weapons trigger, in order to evaluate how the weaponization of sound has changed our societies.
Juliette Volcler is an independent researcher and sound curator from France. She is the author of two essays, Extremely Loud. Sound as a weapon (The New Press, 2013) and Contrôle. Comment s’inventa l’art de la manipulation sonore (La Découverte / La rue musicale, 2017). She is the co-editor of Syntone, a review dedicated to radio and sound art critique.
(The Lecture is held in English.)
«Her* Unspoken Languages – Silence as State Violence and Whistles of Resistance»
A Listening-Performance by
Franziska Koch, Chantal Küng & Anna Frei
«Also was ich schon zich mal gesagt habe ist, dass mal’n paar Psychiater und auch Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Ärzte (wegen der Ohren) das mal endlich fachmännisch aussagen sollen, dass die Wirkung von «Stille» dieselbe ist wie von E-Schocks. Also die selbe Sorte von Verletzungen und Verwüstungen bewirkt, sowohl im Gleichgewichtsorgan als auch und im Gehirn. (…) Man fliegt, eben torkelt von einer Ecke in die andre. Alles, was an einen rankommt, ist disproportioniert, übertrieben. Flüstern wie Dröhnen, eine Andeutung wie ein Hammer. (…) Das Gefühl, man verstummt - man kann die Bedeutung von Worten nicht mehr identifizieren, nur noch raten - der Gebrauch von Zisch-Lauten - s, ß, tz, z, sch - ist absolut unerträglich.» – Ulrike Meinhof, Briefe aus dem Toten Trakt, 1974»
«A couple of days later, we spent an hour sitting on a park bench. The skies were bruised, but the air was warm and fragrant. A flock of pigeons nearby. Manning cooed at them. She told me that at Leavenworth, not long before she learned of her commutation, a robin had alighted at her window, small messenger from the world outside. Hadn`t it been a sign? She had taken it as one.» – Chelsea Manning
Prison and jails are places of silencing, spaces where communication with the outside world gets interrupted or even made impossible. As a disciplinary tool, prison hides and silences what is unwanted in society, forms of otherness and lives of the other that are restricted and locked away. In this performance, voices and noises of women* who have all in their ways fought for a society that hears and makes space for all forms of the living, are being evoked. Some of the voices have been silenced by ignorance and invisibility, some have endured the most cruel repressive procedures such as solitary confinement, where silence becomes the most horrifying noise, where silence is a signifier of state violence and where hegemonic language becomes a prison. Some have started to listen to and communicate with the only messengers from the outside world that could get past prison walls; the birds. Silence can not only be a tool for oppression; it can become, simultaneously, a path of resistance. Listening to silences, we are starting to understand.