May 2011

Quoted from here
“Ever wondered how well playing Call of Duty at maximum volume mimics a real combat experience? Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology must have asked a similar question, because they’ve built a 64-speaker surround-sound audio battlefield designed to train new troops. The system reproduces screaming fighter jets, rumbling tanks, and persistent gunfire — all the better to accommodate recruits to the overwhelming, disorienting cacophony of warfare. Veterans say even with the four large 20-hertz subwoofers, it’s nowhere near the real thing: combat volume is 25 percent louder than the average rock concert, at levels that can cause permanent hearing loss. Still, the creators say every bit of training helps; having near-combat experience is certainly better than none at all. So tell that to your neighbors next time they bang on your wall.”

Quoted from New Scientist articlehere

“You might think that being able to distinguish between a noise associated with danger and a similar but innocuous one would be a useful skill. Yet people find it hard to tell similar sounds apart if one is linked to a bad experience. The finding could help explain how people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may become hypersensitive to certain types of sound.

Rony Paz and colleagues from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, repeatedly played one of two tones to volunteers. One group heard a tone followed by an unpleasant smell, the other a tone followed by a pleasant, melon-like odour. The team then tested how well each person could distinguish between the tones they had heard and similar sounds.

On average, those who had heard the sound that was followed by an unpleasant smell performed worse at this task. The effect persisted 24 hours later.
Evolutionary sense

This makes sense from an evolutionary point of view, says Paz. “If you hear a lion and you see a zebra get eaten, that should be enough for you to know that a lion is bad and to avoid it.” If you subsequently hear a different lion, you want your system to respond quickly to the threat rather than try to distinguish between the two lions.

Paz thinks this conditioning may involve rewiring of the amygdala, the part of the brain which controls the fear response. Understanding this mechanism could lead to better treatments for PTSD, he says.”

Art in General in New York from June 17th

The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory and the Hammer Museum present a conference on June 4 & 5, 2011 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles:

Can Art and Politics Be Thought? Practices, Possibilities, Pitfalls

Curated by Kenneth Reinhard and Drew Daniel

Featuring talks by

Alain Badiou (Being and Event, Logics of Worlds)
Matthew Barney (Cremaster, Drawing Restraint)
Lauren Berlant (The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture, The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship)
Joshua Clover (1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About, Madonna Anno Domini: Poems)
Joan Copjec (Read My Desire: Lacan against the Historicists, Imagine There’s No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation)
Drew Daniel (Throbbing Gristle’s Twenty Jazz Funk Greats, A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure [Matmos])
Steve Goodman (Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear, Black Sun [Kode9])
Allan Sekula (Performance under Working Conditions, Polonia And Other Fables)

And featuring performances by Ultra-Red, Kode9, and Matmos (June 4)
And a reading of scenes from two plays by Alain Badiou, Incident at Antioch and Ahmed the Philosopher (June 5)

For more information go to