Connect Over the Ocean

In his piece Home: The Ethical Volumes of Silence and Noise La Belle quotes Michel Serres who says “[noise] is the beginning and the transformation; it is in such a way that system change orders so easily” (La Belle 62). This quote struck me because La Belle connects this back to the way people inhabit physical spaces, like suburbs and prisons, and how sound acts as a regulatory and disciplinary function. In this piece it is clear that noise is a key way of humans connecting on a deeper level. When suburbs are policed for noise, La Belle says “the retreat to the home historically initiates a spatial emphasis on interiority, which turned one’s glance inward, creating a general psychological unease at exterior disturbance resulting in greater forms of social division” (La Belle 60). When thinking about sound in opposition to interiority, it’s clear that sound maps are necessary for humans to connect across locations. When suburban Home Owner Associations or municipalities place restrictions on noise, there is no way for connection outside of their area. When people do not have that social interaction with people who are different from them, there is a distinct selfishness that can affect government and other institutions of power. La Belle speaks about the ways power is enacted using sound by using silence as an example saying “[silence] functions as power in the arsenal of the law…” noting the Auburn silent prison as an example (La Belle 72). When there is already rules and regulations against the types of noise, soundmaps play an important role in taking the power back from the “arsenal of the law” into the hands of people.

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