the oceans are noisy – the world`s commercial shipping fleet has doubled in size since 1965. the acoustic range of whales has decreased by 9 tenths. mass dolphin suicides abound. intense industrial sounds splinter through marine mammals` primary sense. at source propeller driven ships emit continuous noise of 150-195 decibels (dB). at a distance of 6 feet a pneumatic drill is 95dB. sound travels further and takes longer to degrade in water than in air. global capitalism requires sea-freight – more than 90 percent of global commerce depends on it.
undersea seismic surveys for oil and gas exploration are conducted by firing high velocity airguns which produce 259dB sounds at source and are fired every 10 seconds for weeks or months at a time. military sonar routinely produces sound fields of 235dB while commercial fishing produces fields of 210dB. dolphins wash up on shore by the dozen with blood haemorrhaging from their ears after military sonar exercises.
as noise becomes more widespread marine animals are being forced from their breeding areas. there is evidence some are being driven deaf – no longer able to negoitate a space defined by sound, not sight.
the 1982 UN convention on the law of the sea requires states to “prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from any source”. however despite this principle being established under international law, it can only be established by individual states so long as they do not interfere with uses other states make of the sea (e.g. navigational rights). The IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and other organisations have taken the US navy to court over the use of military sonar, winning an injunction in February 2008 against the use of low frequency active sonar in various areas of critical habitat around the world. at the time of writing the Bush Administration is attempting to overturn protection for marine animals from mid frequency active sonar (a ruling made in a California federal court in January 2008). a decision is pending from the US supreme court on whether the case will be opened to review. In Europe the EU Marine Strategy Directive (adopted in May 2008) now recognises noise as a form of pollution subject to the same levels of regulation as other (chemical) pollutants.
the world is always ending. sometimes it just ends quicker.
the US is currently holding 26000 people without trial reprieve reports, in a global network of outsourced captivity and torture that takes in or has used kenya, somalia, djibouti, albania, poland, thailand and 17 ships, 15 of which have operated around diego garcia, a UK colonial possession whose population was expelled in 1973 and which is now used as a military base. the UK government has admitted it has lied over the use of diego garcia as a site of prison/torture flights. next week it will try to push through legislation that will allow it to imprison people without trial for 42 days (that’s here, in plain sight, not hidden somewhere on the open sea). the BBC are currently reporting that enough concessions could be made to allow the legislation to pass. the political establishment rarely looks outside itself for answers. think of it as the left and right brain pan having an argument. this goes some way to explaining why anyone would think any amount of concessions would make 42 days of detention without trial acceptable. schizophrenic logic or the institutionalised believing their own terrifying bullshit depending on your choice of metaphor. its the same logic that allows systematic imprisonment and assault of people fleeing war.
the press release of the bug’s new record quotes Gibson’s Neuromancer and goes on to tell us we’re living in “end times indeed. Best start building the Marcus Garvey tug now.” although it doesn’t mention how the beast is manifesting itself. how do we feel about using (a vague sense of undirected and culturally divorced) apocalypse as a marketing strategy? is this really OK?
bear in mind that this reflects on the intentions of the publicists rather than the artists (although it’s bound to reflect on its reception as a cultural object).
but enough beating around the bush. the sound is STRONG>>>.
In glacial-paced Taiwanese cinema news – RIP Edward Yang who died on June 29th aged 49. He was probably best known in the anglophone academy through Frederic Jameson’s chapter on his film The Terrorizer (1986). An obituary by Steven Shaviro can be found here.
The king is dead, long live the king. What better way to start a new reign than a Diana concert – establishing a(nother) perpetual 10 year nostalgia loop. “Today we celebrate her rebirth”. Even the stars have to make way for the moon. Prince William claps in double time. Gordon Brown as avatar landlord of a maternal national body. Meanwhile apocalyptic weather betrays the new king’s inability to maintain ecological balance (now understood in scientific rather than relgiious terms).
puffy at Sunday’s Diana concert
Further north Sami folksong (call it joik) from here. This is a marriage song in kildin.
In the week Jean Baudrillard and Bad News Brown died, something overlapped itself into sharper relief like a venn sandwich: new century apocalypse (again) – versioned to infinity. Thread was cutting leeks in the kitchen when she got a warm flash back to the way the low sun reflected off the curved windows of city peaks and down past victorian shopfronts into shadow. The image left her head through the left nostril and floated to the floor, tracing a melancholy residue on the chopping board. The radio, whose broken ariel had been replaced with a tea spoon, was playing end-times music. It distracted her as she washed the brocolli and she dropped half of it into the sink. The cat scratched at the window and Thread pulled the plug. The cloudy water ran out with a muted (h)sssssh.