God is Deaf

[TEXT FOR AN EXHIBITON OF SOUND ART IN ROME CENTRE:  COSA SI PROVA AD AVER UN SUONO IN TESTA?  — 2’ traccia Costruzione di una metafisica dell’assenza a cura di Elena Abbiatici e Valentina G. Levy 24 settembre – 4 novembre Opening 24 settembre – ore 19.30 Piazza De Ricci 127, Roma]


God is Deaf: Five Meditations on Noise


‘Noise’, a perpetual residue of the universe’s origin, yet the universe did not have one origin, but two: its coming into being, and its coming into being for the human subject, such that the continuous coming into being of the Universe could be heard. Philosophy splits itself into two camps: Those who believe that the Universe has always emitted Noise, and those that believe that it cannot have emitted Noise prior to the advent of beings sophisticated enough to hear that Noise.


Letter to an ex-wife: ‘… and if you sleep with anyone else can you please do it in a soundproofed room, because I find the thought of the sound nauseating?’


On a screen in an empty room an automated stock market monitoring programme displays numbers falling rapidly, and silently. Its movement accompanied only by the faint hum of the computer heralds the start of recession, mass unemployment and war.


A GBU-43/B or ‘MOAB’ – ‘Mother of all bomb’s’ – is tested in the desert, just prior to the outbreak of the Iraq war. Containing 9’525 kilos of high explosives, apart from being able to destroy an area up to ‘nine city blocks wide’, the MOAB was aimed at creating panic in the Iraqi population so that they would then remove their own leader. Whilst that plan did not work, leading the US and UK to enter into a costly invasion, civilians subjected to the constant aerial bombardment that took place in the Iraqi Winter of 2003 suffer nervous disorders as a result of the noise to this very day. If there is proof God is deaf, it is because this noise could not be heard by the far away tax paying citizens of the invading countries. The notion that Noise cannot exist if there is no subject present to hear it is subconsciously utilised by the citizens of war-mongering nations to excuse their apathy and protect their comfortable lifestyles. If there were such a thing as divine justice it ought to include as just one aspect a cacophony of aerial bombardment, screams of the dying, and sounds of systemic rape and torture, played on a loop into the ears of those UK and US civilians who wouldn’t acknowledge, let alone speak out against the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.


A child eats crisps and asks his grandmother if she can hear the crunching noise as loudly in the room as he can hear it in his head.

Mike Watson. 2011.

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