This week, Weird Vibrations will review two new books together: Gordon Hempton’s 2009 “One Square Inch of Silence” and Steve Goodman’s 2010 “Sonic Warfare.” The books offer contrasting viewpoints on acoustic ecology – the first is a naturalist’s travelogue, the second a philosophical critique of military-industrial soundscapes. Both call for increased attention to our planet’s sonic environment, but they take radically different stands on where to go from there.
Before publishing the review, I want to poll you on a couple of questions. First, is understanding sound as an ecosystem practical? In other words, can this formulation help us deal with noise in a just fashion? How does the ecological metaphor sit with you?
Second, does acoustic ecology’s focus on “natural” preservation make it essentially conservative? This is a charge that’s latent (if not explicit) in some recent Sound Studies work that foregrounds technology. What do you think?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (I have ESP, but type them out for others’ sake, please.)