The digital universe keeps expanding, from the desk and the laptop to our mobile screens and beyond. Wired objects, buildings and city streets are part of our daily landscape, a chaotic and noisy electronic environment where fiber optics and radio waves intersect and connect everything to everything else.
While we speak of clouds and are invisibly linked to them, a vast and heavy infrastructure is needed to support the internet: from transoceanic submarine cables to large data centers on the edge of town, from servers and robots to call center and factory workers. Global capitalism makes noise. When so many of the world’s decision processes are hidden from view, or recombined and filtered through the 24-hour news cycle, what is the role of sound in understanding contemporary politics?
How can we decipher, reveal, or keep the world’s secrets by listening to its digital communication system?
Computers talk to each other all the time, in code and in voltage, almost telepathically and at the speed of light. This is a conversation that excludes those of us unable to read between the lines or who are deaf to this soft music.
To live in the world today is to be surrounded by a constant humming, the body electric, the senses extended and transformed by all that we own, all that we have built. We live inside the machines.
What does it sound like?