Resonance and vibration, understood most often by humans in the form of sound, are too often categorized as a merely passive form of sensation. In point of fact, hearing, and in particular the organization of hearing in music, has been fundamental to the evolutionary development of the human species, including its specific cognition capacities and cultural practices. But this is only half the story. With modern technical instruments, sound and vibration have become essential operations for a whole host of sensing possibilities yet to be realized.
This dossier takes a close look at the many ways the technosphere operationalizes sound in seismology, ultrasound, maritime navigation, and ground-penetrating radar systems and sets the stage for new frontiers of sensation with sonic weapons, psychoacoustics, and frequency augmentation.
The northernmost reaches of the Earth converge around a pole as well known for symbolism as for its extreme climatic conditions. Ever since the Cold War, the Arctic has been a focal point of geoscientific research, the advancement of media and technology, and new geopolitics. Over the last several decades, heated climate change debates and melting terrains have reconfigured in tandem with an expansive drive for intercontinental commerce and resource exploration.
The Arctic dossier examines how this region, a highly engineered and technically activated space, has become a cold laboratory of the technosphere and its reach. Additionally, the dossier looks at the multiple registers of contention over the future of the planet, as daring infrastructure projects are constructed atop politically divisive deglaciated landscapes; opened-up waterways are parlayed by corporations, governments, and NGOs; and indigenous peoples vie for futures, lives, and livelihoods in an increasingly tense geosocial drama.