3D Audio, A Protest Tool

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, It Will Be In Binaural

The latest news out of Washington has me thinking: Where does sound feature in the role of a protest?

From Dystopian fantasies like Terry Gilliam’s 1985 classic ‘Brazil’ to Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report,’ it seems it isn’t mere coincidence that the government’s go-to tool for surveillance is video and damning suppression.

Terry Gilliam's 1985 film Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film “Brazil”

Even a quick Google search gives us the usual “Russian Think-Tank App Catches Protestors Before they Protest” or “Foreign Government Internet Blockades.” Tech has a trickle down effect, leaving the powers that be with a super-human edge and the protestors with an arsenal of rummaged rack sacks, stones, and hearts of passion.

As media outlets scrape through twitter feeds scavenging for biased hope or power abuse, it seems the balance is beginning to shift as rioters are able to record, document, and share whats going on it the inside. Never before were we permitted inside information, but as technology evolves, we now suddenly get to see all sides of the story.

What happens when, as citizens, we are able to properly document the sound of a riot or passionate march chants? How will this change our perspective? How will this shape our opinions as a community? How will the media embrace this?

It’s clear that over the past five years, protestors have mastered the art of social media to win support and further their cause. Internet access gives everyone the ability to share everything and gain attention from a numerous amounts of outlets. Even when governments have attempted to suppress or track activities, applications like Firechat or hotspot shield companies like AnchorFree have emboldened the protestors to lay down their rocks and poster boards and reach for their phones.

Video cameras have always been part and parcel of a good march, but they’ve always looked from the outside in. Now the camera angles have switched sides. We’re getting a new perspective. We suddenly get to see both sides to the story, and get to see everything around us almost unrestricted. Though both angles remain highly curated and source-biased, the intention to convey the truth and a set of facts persists, somewhat curbing History’s tendency to distort events. Being able to record everything at any given moment has given us the privilege to be able to claim our stake in the ground and stop anyone from changing history. We can now say, “this is how it was, and here’s the proof.”

In moments of conflict, as cameras face the ground, while their holders run from various oncoming threats or ISP access gets blocked from a possible mobile electromagnetic pulse — we still have our ears. We still remember the sounds and can place importance on ones that we remember. We remember the footsteps, the chants, and all the sounds that go along with what is important to us. You can’t fake that.

Audio occurs all around us. Sound waves travel, but they do not run. It’s tricky to “photoshop” an audio recording without it immediately being identified as corrupt.

Aside from all the great visuals that come along with protests, some of the best things to experience are the sounds. Have you ever stood in the middle of a crowd and just listened to them chant? The feeling that washes over you is as powerful as just simply being in the middle of that crowd. Being part of something that everyone feels is important is incredible, and that a collective group of people are passionate enough about it to take to the streets and show the world how much it means to them is something even more amazing. We live in an ever changing world, and are able to look back to the past and see how we can grow. We can look back at our mistakes and see how we can do better, and we can see just how much the world has changed (or how it hasn’t).

Video and audio have allowed us the chance to share our experiences with the world and connect with people from all acts of life. It can bring us together and show people our point of view. We can share our stories with everyone all over the world and give them a taste of what it can be like to walk a minute in our shoes. Audio and video have allowed us to not only share what it can look like from our point of view, but how it can sound as well, which only drives the experience further.

Moving away from right and wrong, good and bad, justified or abused, I look to audio, and the way we record it, to help bring us one step closer to a less biased story of what happened, where, and when. Binaural recording will be this bridge and Hooke will be there when it happens.

From One Ear To Another,
Anthony Mattana
Hooke Founder

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