aural flâneur
Anti-FN march 16iv17 7.JPG

Listening under Global Trumpism

Can Trumpism be diagnosed as a crisis of listening?

This two-part project involves an archive of field recordings and related photographs documenting the sonic reaction to the rise of global Trumpism, together with an analysis of Trumpism as a technology of listening that operates through social and digital media, surveillance, and affective listening networks.

The project began with my own recordings of protests in the UK, the US, and France in response to the Brexit vote, the election of Trump, and emergence of Le Pen’s Front National as an electoral force.

The second part of the project analyses Trumpism as a technology of listening that exaggerates and distorts neoliberal modalities of aural subjection. From Trump’s idiosyncratic way of speaking that confounds interpreters to the broader transformation of dog-whistle politics on a global scale via social and digital media, such trumpery changes how we hear, redefining what is in/audible when and for whom and reattuning ears to different semantic and sensory stimuli in the environment.

This project was supported by grants from the Price Lab for Digital Humanities and the Mellon Humanities+Urbanism+Design Initiative, as well as a Fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Please check back soon for more videos, photos, and recordings, or get in touch to contribute recordings to the archive.

Antifascist Silent Disco (2019) teaser

This sound and photo installation was created for the 2019 Sommerfest of the Akademie Schloss Solitude, where I am a fellow in 2019–2020. The sonic compositions weave together field recordings made at antiracist and antifascist protests and are played through individual headphones from a silent disco kit, with photographs projected onto the walls of the Rocco Schloss.

This project explores contemporary modalities of listening that allocate dissent and resistance to either silence or inarticulate noise—which in the end amount to the same thing. Most of the recordings were made in the Parisian banlieue where such listening is symptomatic of a (post)colonial division between insider and outsider. In the broader global context, such listening is apiece with authoritarian variants of neoliberalism which displace economic inequality and crises of democratic representation onto partitions of audibility between heard and unheard. Reflecting on the paradox of the heard unheard or silent noise, the silent disco genre invites participants to experience a certain collective synchronicity in the absence of shared audibility and thus to reflect on the challenges of listening across ever-deepening social divides in the struggle against the resurgent far right.

All photography on this page by Naomi Waltham-Smith

Paris-Banlieue contre le FN (Aubervilliers, 16 April 2017)

Paris-Banlieue contre le FN (Aubervilliers, 16 April 2017)

Your children’s future’s on the line (Philadelphia, 15 November 2016)

1er tour social (Paris, 22 April 2017)

1er tour social (Paris, 22 April 2017)

Protest against the GOP retreat (Philadelphia, 26 January 2017)

Protest against the GOP retreat (Philadelphia, 26 January 2017)

Protest against the immigration ban (Philadelphia, 4 February 2017)

Protest against the immigration ban (Philadelphia, 4 February 2017)

Nuit des barricades (Paris, 23 April 2017)

Nuit des barricades (Paris, 23 April 2017)

1er mai (Paris, 2017)

1er mai (Paris, 2017)

Women’s March (Philadelphia, 21 January 2017)

Women’s March (Philadelphia, 21 January 2017)

1er tour social (Paris, 22 April 2017)

1er tour social (Paris, 22 April 2017)

1er mai (Paris, 2017)

1er mai (Paris, 2017)

1er mai (Paris, 2017)

1er mai (Paris, 2017)