It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Sound Mirrors

page: 1

log in


posted on Feb, 9 2009 @ 06:36 PM

There is no war without representation, no sophisticated weaponry without psychological mystification. Weapons are tools not just of destruction, but also of perception - that is to say, stimulants that make themselves felt through chemical, neurological processes in the sense organs and the central nervous system, affecting even the perceptual identification and differentiation of objects " Paul Virilio "War and Cinema

Audience responses to low frequency sound-installations and performances suggest that many people instinctively associate booming, droning, roaring and rumbling sounds with dreams and also with war. Apparently Goethe believed true poetry lies not in the provision of authentically new experiences, but in stimulating the recollection of memories which would otherwise remain forgotten. There are few more poignant surprises than to be prompted to recover people, moments or sense-memories from the depths of the distant past. Hyperacuity in darkness (hyper-sensitivity of hearing, similar to the well-known audiological effects of blindness), the tendency of damp night air to absorb high frequencies and favour the long-distance propagation of low frequency sounds, and dramatic reductions in the masking effects of ambient noise at night all conspire to implant abyssal bass and infrasounds deep into subconscious memories of hypnagogic states and dreams.

Similarly, but at a very much deeper level of encoding, real danger triggers the so-called fight-or-flight reflexes which place the autonomic nervous system on full-alert, flooding the body with adrenaline, hypersensitizing the senses, and dramatically extending subjective perceptions of time. As Barry Convex says in David Cronenberg's classic "Videodrome", "something to do with the effects of exposure to violence on the nervous system opens up receptors in the brain and the spine". During the WW2 nocturnal Blackout procedures were tantamount to a policy of compulsory mass hyperacusis. Venturing outdoors at night, particularly the urban population, already hypersensitized by fear, found their hearing heightened still further by immersion in levels of darkness which were unprecedented since the introduction of street-lighting.

The basic hypothesis here is that the experience of defensively listening, consciously and unconsciously, for the dull-thud of explosions, the whistle of rockets and bombs and the roar of planes is the mechanism by which such autonomic states encode, at a fundamental neurological level, as conditioned, reflexive responses to ambient low frequency sounds. These high states of arousal are necessarily those in which individuals are most receptive to sense-data. These responses are also culturally transmissible - primarily through the medium of cinema. It is worth noting that extreme sensitivity to sound (of the exact sort idealised by the composer John Cage) is not only a state of heightened esthetic awareness, but also a recognised medical condition, often associated with debilitating phonophobia and the onset of conditioned tinnitus - and during the war advertisements in Picture Post magazine suggest there was a roaring trade in sedatives, not only for people but also for household pets.

The solution was provided by an article by W. Harms in Shortwave Magazine, which described a series of massive concrete monoliths which still stand, slowly crumbling into waste-land at a site near Dungeness in Kent. These structures, built in the 1920s and 1930s, formed a primitive experimental early-warning system - several elegant, but extremely austere concave shapes designed to allow the precise triangulation of directional-fixes on the distant sounds of incoming enemy Zeppelins, aircraft and ships. These shapes rise up out of the Kentish shingle like the strange ceremonial relics of a dead civilisation or unknown tribal culture (and if you consider military R&D as an anthropological entity as well as a purely technical enterprise, then perhaps this interpretation is not as wild as it seems).

Just consider what was the level back in the early 1900'
to understand present capabilities and what we may subject to today...

There is a lot on the subject of sound mirrors but i believe the above are enough to make my point.

posted on Feb, 9 2009 @ 07:21 PM
reply to post by GEORGETHEGREEK

Thats a very interesting post George .
I must admitt i had to re-read it as i wasn`t getting "the full picture"
.... damn my over-reliance on my eyes .

I saw something on a documentary ( ?) where a person with severe depression took part in an experiment where her brain was bombarded by a particular frequency(s) (?) i believe the proceedure was non evasive.

....she experienced different "moods", the specialist conducting the experiment admitted it was hit and miss locating the preferred area to focus on.
The patient was conscious throughout and relayed her mood to the doctors as he focused on different areas..... next thing the women's face lit up like a Cheshire cat.

I wish i could remember the name of the documentary .... sorry.

[edit on 9-2-2009 by UmbraSumus]

posted on Feb, 10 2009 @ 12:41 PM
Very interesting. Star for you!

posted on Feb, 10 2009 @ 08:42 PM
reply to post by GEORGETHEGREEK


I don't know if this fits in with what you're after here - but you might find this site interesting:


Sound is, quite simply, a vibration that the human ear can detect. One note will sound higher than another if it vibrates the air at a faster rate (in other words, at a higher frequency). We’re used to talking about the visible light spectrum - the range of colours that the human eye can see. Acousticians also think of sound in spectral terms. As sound rises in pitch, from bass to treble, it moves across the audible spectrum. Just as there is infrared and ultraviolet at the cusps of the visible spectrum, there is infrasound and ultrasound at the fringes of the spectrum of audible sound...

Infrasound clearly lies on the cusp of our perception, rather than outside it. But our experience of infrasound is still a mysterious issue. When we sense these vibrations, what do we actually hear? Researchers at University of Salford asked this when they tested our ability to hear low frequencies in 1967. Subjects described the sensation of infrasound as ‘rough’, a ‘popping effect’. Infrasound below 5Hz was described as a ‘chugging or ‘whooshing’, a sensation they could ‘feel’. (Yeowart, Bryan and Tempest, 1967) The chance to hear infrasound in a large auditorium seems very enticing. But the hypothesis that infrasound can affect people’s mood intrigues us even more. The existence of infrasound, in sacred music and reputedly haunted sites, makes an exploration of infrasound and mood all the more fascinating.

posted on Feb, 14 2009 @ 02:37 AM
i live a good 15 miles away from proper civilisation. its quiet out here and i like it that way.

a couple of months ago, in the middle of the afternoon, a helicopter flew overhead. my first perception of it was an instinctive rush of adrenaline. just a small one, like when your heart skips a beat. i could sense my ears peak up.

the OP presents the exact reason i am opposed to helicopters flying overhead. they produce a vibration in the air which is not only audible, but also kinesthetically perceptible. the kinesthesis produces an instinct-level response of fear in people.

angry, i chased the frickin thing down in my car, only to discover that it was a student pilot being dropped off at home.

i had once managed to convince myself that generating this kinesthetic response in the public is the sole reason that "they" fly them over all of our homes and cities. "they" prefer to keep us in a state of chronic tension. (see the recent thread: U.S. Troops In Black Helicopters Invade New Orleans)

the OP is making me reconsider the truthfulness of that ridiculous idea.

top topics

log in