UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 04 Spring 16 Library
Shane Lin

Banned Sounds: Kyle Chattleton’s Making Noise Project

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Every four years, the best soccer players in the world converge to captivate fans for what is arguably the biggest sporting event on the planet: the World Cup. However, the 2010 tournament in South Africa is remembered just as much for what fans heard. The droning, and at times overwhelming sounds of the Vuvuzela blared throughout stadiums and through televisions. So much so, that FIFA banned them from matches, citing issues related to potential hearing loss. But is such a ban a good thing? Kyle Chattleton thinks not. He looked at the Vuvuzela issue as part of his recent project Banned Sounds, which was created and presented by the UVA Music Library and presented to coincide with Banned Books Week. “There is a trend out there for people thinking that our environment is increasingly noisy because of technology and population density, among other things. That is definitely true, but what I found is that, unfortunately, these kinds of conversations lead to policies that result in negative effects including cultural silencing.” Chattleton’s project highlights a number of examples, including the horrific effects of such silencing in Nazi Germany, a public swearing ban in Virginia Beach, and even a “No Shrieking” ban on a popular amusement park ride that had drawn complaints from neighbors. “When we want to remove a sound from our lives or from the everyday soundscape,” Chattleton warns, “we should really think about the major consequences of the cultural legacy or the cultural silencing that might follow.” 

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