histoire sociale du rock | history of pop culture | Popgeschichte


The Cold War Continuum: The Role of Sound Systems in the Vibrational Delusions of Sonic Warfare (Stream)

SOUND(ING) SYSTEMS examines the history of the Cold War via the so-called ‘Lautsprecherkrieg’ (loudspeaker war) and the ‘Studio am Stacheldraht’ (Studio at the Barbed Wire) in Berlin. The program focuses on the surprising political entanglements of Jamaican and Korean sound systems in the global struggle between the great powers fighting for ideological influence; the controversial use of acoustic weapons in Cuba as well as the politicization of subcultural movements. A critical analysis of the ideological demands made on sound systems separate to the Cold War, examining the global transformations of sound system cultures.

What factors might account for both how, and why, sound system culture, (in its varied, widereaching global forms), and the medium of sound itself, have become gravitational spheres to which the military, covert government agencies, cultural producers, and theorists alike have been increasingly drawn since the onset of the (first) Cold War? At which point did sound politics become an increasingly important weapon in the cultural-political armory for factions of the fine arts, philosophy, scientific research, sound research, feminist and queer discourse and practice, as well as for clubs and subculture?

The recorded stream of the symposium can be found, here.

A symposium designed and moderated by Jessica Edwards (UK/GER)

SONIC BORDER WARFARE. Installation by sound artist Nik Nowak, Sounding Systems, KINDL gallery, Berlin 2021.


Prof. Louis Chude-Sokei (USA), director of Boston University’s African-American Studies Program, author of The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2016), and Editor-in-Chief of The Black Scholar.

Sarah Farina (GER) and Dr. Kerstin Meißner (GER)
Founders of Transmission – audio and visual project for the political and historic relevance of international sound, club and rave culture.

Dr. Steve Goodman (UK), known as Kode9, founder of Hyperdub label and author of Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear (MIT Press, 2010).

Nik Nowak (GER), artist and creator of the mobile sound system sculptures Panzer (2011) and The Mantis (2019). SOUND(ING) SYSTEMS has been conceived and curated under the artistic direction of Nik Nowak.

Sebastien Carayol (FR), journalist and Curator of the exhibition Jamaica Jamaica! (Philharmonie de Paris, National Gallery of Jamaica)

Martin Kowalski (GER), author and philosopher, in conversation with Dr. Bodo Mrozek (GER) Research Associate of the Berliner Kolleg Kalter Krieg | Berlin Center for Cold War Studies and Prof. Helmut Müller-Enbergs (GER) who is Professor at the center for cold war studies at the institute for history at Syddansk university in Denmark, political scientist and expert on secret services and german history.

Further information and updates: sounding.systems

Cite this blog post
Bodo Mrozek (2021, March 21). The Cold War Continuum: The Role of Sound Systems in the Vibrational Delusions of Sonic Warfare (Stream). PopHistory. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/sz6w

Bodo Mrozek

I am a historian, working on cultural and contemporary history. In my recent book Jugend - Pop - Kultur. Eine transnationale Geschichte (Histoire de la pop. Quand la culture jeune dépasse les frontières), I analyze both the criminalization and the establishment of an international youth and pop culture during the second half of the 20th century. Currently, I am a researcher at the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies of the Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin.

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