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SPECULATIVE DESIGN WORKSHOP: AUDITORY GOVERNANCES
5th September 2016 / 18:00 - 21:00
The workshops are free but limited to 8 – 10 participants each. No previous knowledge required. The workshop language is English. If you want to participate, please send an email to Felix Gerloff (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 listening and its politics. The use of sound as a weapon has dwelled for a long time in the collective imaginary – from the biblical “Trumpets of Jericho” to bowelripping Infrasound beams. However, acoustic weaponry is now constantly deployed in both military and law enforcement contexts, in order to contain so-called “political turmoil”, to inflict pain, and to obliterate subjectivities – good examples being Drones, Sound Bombs, or Long Range Acoustic Devices. On the other hand, high-tech products finely tune how one listens to the world – either by cancelling out certain frequencies and discrete sound events, or by enhancing or altering others. Devices like these are designed within systems that seek to secure and enforce acoustic borders; to stratify the soundscape into a site of struggle and confrontation.
Such a statement opens room for a simple question: hasn’t it always been so? And, more importantly, hasn’t design actively contributed to this scenario? To explore this, we will collectively inquire and rewrite pasts, presents, and futures, mixing fact and fiction and blurring the lines between what is heard and what is said to be heard. Starting with the story of a curious find at a pawn shop in the countryside of Brazil, we will invite action and discussion as to why, how, and when these complex political intertwining designs objects that reproduce and aestheticise violence, hence becoming part of an overall sense of normalcy in society. The session will work within a shared suspension of disbelief, in which participants will be invited to assume roles, improvise, and help fill out “missing gaps” in the story. We will ask questions such as: for whom are these artefacts designed? Which systems do they reproduce and perpetuate, and how? How can we explore the porosities of these acoustic borders to design alternative soundscapes, artefacts, and listening practices?
This event is hosted in collaboration with Critical Media Lab Basel, Academy of Art and Design FHNW (www.ixdm.ch).