Apr13. | 0:00
Acoustic weapons: from the walls of Jericho to the GitMo playlist
talk by Sebastian Schäfer
“We were working secretly for the military, our experiment in sound was ready to begin. They told us, all they wanted was a sound that could kill someone from a distance.“
Kate Bush – Experiment IV
Sound is in the focus of military development since the early 20th century, making it’s appearance in the WW2 Ghost Armies and the psychological warfare operations in Vietnam.
Sound touches body and emotions directly, making it the weapon of choice for influencing mind states. As a battle cry it has been used throughout history, from Aztec death whistles to Hutu ghettoblasters, announcing the arrival of death in Ruanda. Music and sound also play a pivotal role in penalty and interrogation systems, documented by the cases of musical torture in the Portuguese Estado Novo, Abu Ghuraib or in the greek prison camps during the Junta.
The lecture features audio and video material of sound in it’s most sinister form, raising the question: Can sound actually kill someone?