Extra Credi#3 Douglas Kahn by Komal Kapoor

Last week I attended the Sound Symposium and attended Douglas Kahn’s  “Aesthetics of Natural Radio” lecture.  I found the topic to be really bizarre because it was mainly about individuals listening to the sounds of technology. The Whistlers is described as the trajectory of trapped particles that creates a sound. The speaker informed us about Thomas Watson who listed to the sounds in the telephone well into the night to hear the static currents. I found this really curious because I have often been bothered by electric static from televisions and telephones that is so loud in the quiet of night. I always thought I was going a bit crazy, hearing static currents, but I am glad that people spend their lives listening to these electric sounds.

Furthermore, Douglas incorporated nature into the electrical sounds, like snaps, crackles, pops, and squeaks. He explained that nature is part of the technological surface created by humans. So he often goes into the forest to listen to the static that might be picked up in nature, as well as the sounds of nature. These sounds are what he describes as the natural radio, an interesting concept I had never really thought about. He also records these sounds as artistic collaboration of music.

writings-1The main question I had was whether these sounds, various frequencies that are a result of the various man-made technology. It seems likely that these machine sounds would have some negative effects just like they are now saying that cell phones may cause brain cancer. However, none of the articles I researched claimed that there were any adverse effects of these frequencies.  

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