In our last meeting of the Colloquium Sound & Sensory Studies (meeting schedule: each tuesday every two weeks) the Berlin-based sound artist and researcher Anke Eckardt presented the state of artistic research in a project she is undertaking these days at the Graduiertenschule für die Künste und die Wissenschaften (at the Universität der Künste Berlin). Titled Schallbeam this project explores the artistic potential as well as the historical, political and sociological aspects of extremely directed sound. Just recently she presented her work Between | You | And | Me at the CYNETART-festival in Dresden/Hellerau:
In her presentation Eckardt stressed especially the ambivalence of technically developping and working artistically with hypersonic sound. Because this technology is up til now almost exclusively used to threaten, punish and torture citizens or enemies who do express their opinion or who do express their discontent with their government or the occupying forces of an oppressor. This is shown by this, openly speaking, horrifyingly malicious if not sadistic presentation by the inventor of one crucial patent, Woody Norris, at the TED-conference in 2004:
In the following footage you can observe the shocking effects if such a so-called LRAD (Long Tange Acoustice Device) is applied against protesters – in this case the G20-protesters in Pittsburg:
At the end, Anke Eckardt quoted William S. Burroughs’ book The Electronic Revolution (1970) to take her stance against this application as a means of torture:
AS A FRONT LINE WEAPON TO PRODUCE AND ESCALATE RIOTS
There is nothing mystical about this operation. Riot sound effects can produce an actual riot in a riot situation. RECORDED POLICE WISTLES WILL DRAW COPS. RECORDED GUNSHOTS, AND THEIR GUNS ARE OUT.