Noise is so often a 'stench in the ear' – an unpleasant disturbance or an unwelcome distraction. But there is much more to noise than what greets the ear as unwanted sound.
Beyond Unwanted Sound is about noise and how we talk about it. Weaving together affect theory with cybernetics, media histories, acoustic ecology, geo-politics, sonic art practices and a range of noises, Marie Thompson critiques both the conservative politics of silence and transgressive poetics of noise music, each of which position noise as a negative phenomenon. Beyond Unwanted Sound instead aims to account for a broader spectrum of noise, ranging from the exceptional to the banal; the overwhelming to the inaudible; and the destructive to the generative. What connects these various and variable manifestations of noise is not negativity but affectivity. Building on the Spinozist assertion that to exist is to be affected, Beyond Unwanted Sound asserts that to exist is to be affected by noise.