Key Work: Mohamad Safa on “Collateral Listening: Aural Shocks Beyond Quantification”
11 October 2022
This talk establishes and examines the concept of Collateral Listening, as an inherent aural condition to atmospheres of loudness, particularly in armed conflict. Informed by the controversial category of collateral damage, that operates within the fundamental principles of the Laws of Armed Conflicts, Collateral Listening examines the obscured zones of violence. Territories where untargeted bodies absorb the audible excess of armed conflicts. Spaces, where sheltering victims experience the diffused yet “legitimate” sonic repercussions of shockwaves. As neither targets nor collateral casualties, ear witnesses to aerial strikes are systematically excluded from legal consideration and categorisation. The alienation of the listener, as such, is instrumentalised further by retributive and coercive military practices. Through this extreme listening dimension, entanglements between acoustics, psycho-social trauma, laws of war, geography and technology come to matter.