Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear
An exploration of the production, transmission, and mutation of affective tonality—when sound helps produce a bad vibe.
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.
HardcoverOut of Print ISBN: 9780262013475 296 pp. | 9 in x 7 in 1 line drawing
Paperback$25.00 S | £20.00 ISBN: 9780262517959 296 pp. | 9 in x 7 in 1 line drawing
By insisting on the primacy of vibration in the nexus of sound, affect, and power, Sonic Warfare charts a transdisciplinary micropolitics of frequency that breaks with the orthodoxies of phenomenology and cultural studies and triumphantly succeeds in immersing us in the present of viral capitalism, pirate media, and asymmetric warfare. This book is rigorous, affirmative, sober, and pitiless: in its ambition, its purpose and its passion, it is nothing short of a breakthrough for contemporary sonic thought.
Course Director of MA Aural and Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, and author of More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction