17.5.2014 Artist interviews
Susan Schuppli & Tom Tlalim
artist(s): Susan Schuppli, Tom Tlalim
Susan Schuppli & Tom Tlalim talk about their research on the sonic dimension of life under drones.
While most accounts of the use of armed drones in Pakistan focus upon their lethal effects, witnesses consistently mention the debilitating effects - fear, anxiety, depression - of living under the constant sonic menace of drone surveillance, which in some cities and villages is reported at near continuous levels of coverage. For example, for every drone sortie that results in a strike, approximately 30 missions are flown sometimes tracking potential targets for months on end. As these remote-controlled aircraft troll the topographies of FATA, their high-pitched emissions are a constant reminder that one might be killed at any moment by a machine that one cannot so much as see but hear. The sound effects produced by loitering drones varies as it is both modulated by the terrain below and intensified by altitude.
Using generative software and frequencies suggestive of the acoustic signature of drone sorties, the installation Uneasy Listening on show at the exhibition HLYSNAN: The Notion and Politics of Listening presents a diagrammatic soundscape of life under drones.