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The noise in the streets of Yerevan. Modern slavery and the Noise

Co-author composer and sound artist Arash Azadi

 Friday. In other cases it could be a simple day- one of many, which the week has. But in the frames of consumeristic culture this day is considered something very special. Friday is layered with sort of sacrality. It promises to take away the troubles and the fatigue of previous week and wash away all the problems.

The «Work Hard Party Hard» ideology, which is very popular in modern life can be traced back  to  old Greece and viewed as the «continuation» of Dyonisyan feasts.  Well, let us say, a «new» version of it, which removes the religious content and puts the consumeristic ideology instead.  But there is a difference between those two. And the difference is the result. Dyonisian feasts were meant to lead the masses o the catarsys, which was  sort of social therapy, a healing act.

But are the newer versions of those feasts also therapeutic?

«WORK HARD PARTY HARD» can be hardly viewed as healing actions. Those are more consumeristic feasts, which are meant to distract the crown and not to heal. Distract from current social, economical, ecological, policital situations, problems,  distract from simple questions like «What am I doing here?», «Why am I doing this?».

The muic, which is popular in the frames of «PARTY HARD » generation is close to what Theodor Adorno would describe as «domestic, consumeristic music, which can be identified with the governed world». The music and the vibes help the system to distract single persons.

This distraction helps the system provide a  secure return of the single person back to the palms of the accepted structure. Person, a distracted one, stays happy and satisfied from his life and has absolutely no sign of a protest against the structure. The satisfaction means , that the person is «trapped» again and he will not give any sign of objection or , that will question the authorities, their activities or discredit the need in their existence.



The Discomfort of the sound and The Distraction

Noise is an unwanted, unpleasant , and the obstacle to and against a person and the  COMFORT a person and the PLEASURE. Commonly understood as the undesired residue of the activity.

Mainly noise is divided in two categories:

  • background noise
  • foreground noise

The background noise is  a residue of common, everyday activities. At first sigth it is unrecognisable but at the same time it brings unpleasantness and disturbance. One of the most used ways to fight against this type of noise is The Distraction.



This is how usually authorities solve the problems and discomforts created by the noise- just by redirecting your attention on something else.

The main reason to fight against the noise and noise filtration is to make it as less noticeable as possible.

One of the best ways of filtration and distraction is redirecting the attention by putting the emphasis on PLEASURE. The pleasure in this context becomes a reward for being in system, being  rulled by the system. Slowly the factor of pleasure becomes an autonomous reward, which is achievable only by following the consumeristic rules.

System declares through numerous ways, that  consuming, buying leads to the PLEASURE.

The more you consume, the closer you will be to the desired image of the Happyness and  the PLEASURE.

The consumerist ideology tries to exaggerate the instant satisfaction from having something, from consuming in order to create a base for the concept of PLEASURE. The last one becomes something monstrous in that context. It becomes something, that itself promises a total satisfaction and harmony to the person, but that harmony can be achieved only by following the rules, by consuming.

This way system tries to hide small or big bugs in everyday life, sometimes even important social-economical or political problems.

This is the classic way of “noise filtration”, which more focuses on distraction from problems, rather than their solvation.

It tries to create more and more seductive ideas, then products representing those ideas. This will continue distracting the audience, the masses.

As a result we get a  PLEASURE construct, which closes the reality, our horizon with it`s essence.

 “Work Hard, Party Hard” ideology is actually more a modern concept for slavery. This slavery concept makes a pleasure-seeking-machine from a person, who doesn`t recognize anything on it`s way to the desired result. Let`s remember the examples from our daily life. People, sitting in open air cafes, enjoying their meal are making a quick pause, when they see a beggar nearby. Why do they do this, if they do not give money, food or else. Tha pause is just a time freezing technique to «save the moment of pleasure» from the one, who will «ruin» it.

 They simply wait until the Unpleasant object disappears, to continue enjoying their meal. The object- beggar in this case, represents a problem. And there are two ways of facing the problem- solve it (give short or long term solution) or wait until the problem or it`s image disappears .

As a result of we stand on a way of cultural and social impotence. A person stops realizing his actions, their meaning, he simply continues the blank ritual. By doing this he eventually stops questioning the system, the established values, because it is so comfortable to exist in it. Being in system means not thinking of anything, being in system gives pleasure, being in system is like being in an artificial  womb.



Foreground noise

 The second type of noise is foreground noise. Here noise also comes up as an unpleasant, disturbing thing. Difference is that here, the noise can become not only a problem, but also solvation. Here it can be some kind of a tool, which the previous type, the background noise can`t be.

This tool is used both by those, who seek various ways of social problem solvation and those, who create those problems.

First group is the   opposition, activists, human rights defenders and all those, who seek for positive social or systemic change. The second group can be war-making, war-seeking governments with and those, who have benefits from creating negative and destructive changes in society. In other words those, who “search for reasons and platforms to make war”.

Our consumerist society, which benefits from injecting mistrust and uncertainty   to the people also creates negative change in society. This system tries to create an atmosphere of fear from being “not like others”. Fear to quetion things, to doubt in things and, why not, to find your own path or not to be like others.

From this point of view  not  requiring the standards of stereotypical HAPPYNESS or «not being like others» becomes a nightmare. Not  matching those standards scares people as it promises alienation and loneliness. Alienation and loneliness, in the frames of consumerism, is represented as «death»  and social anathema. Alienation is a hurtful mutilation  from society.,Society, which is always active, always connected to each other, always easy reachable (thanks a lot to social-media developement).

If you disagree to buy, to look the way you need to according the RULES, you automatically become an alienated one.

Alienation sometimes is represented as a hurtful transformation to OTHER. The OTHER can be understood as an enemy, which puts the life of the system, it`s stream in danger. Here is very important to remember the most radical usage of the noise, which is connected to the extremist group activities, also uses the factor of alienation. Group of «alienated» or «marginal» people, who have disagreement and discomfort can easilly become a target for those extremist groups and be involved in destructive activities. Discomfort and disagreement with the system is powerfull uniting force.

 Our system benefits from creating social instability, depression of single persons, which can be also a  result of non realistic goals we are told to set.

 What do we need to acheive  according to the consumerist ideology?

There is always an absolute image of  financial and ethic perfection, which can be attained only through consuming. We can be happy and free only after buying several things or having X amount of money in our bank account. The image of absolute freedom created by our system is a machine to make perfect slaves.


When Noise is a Music 

Noise as a genre is yet new  in Armenia. It`s roots can be traced back to 1913, in the works of italian futurist Louigi Roussolo. He mentions in his «Art of Noise» manifesto, that the industrial revolution gives a man an opportunity for wider range of perception of sounds.

Lately that idea was developed by Antoine Artaud in his audio  իր   Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu .

There are many examples of the noise usage in music, even in popular one. One of best examples of it is  “Noise” composition performed by a bold collaboration between “The Velvet Underground” and Andy Warhol in 1966.

The Noise- adapted in the frames of music, becomes a powerful tool against accepted standards and rules. The audience is being taken away from it`s consumeristic comfort zone and liberated from contingencies with the help of non standart musical solutions and sounds. Noise as a method, plays with the very aestetical perceptions of the audience, the cliches and questions them. Noise is very influenced by the eastern cultures, teachings  and ideologies.  Noise is trying to oppose the eastern cultural revalations to the industrial colonisation, which is being spread widely with the help of western capitalistic system.


Noise shows, that music as the most liberated form of arts has power to become a safe base for Anarchy and protest.

Co-author composer and sound artist Arash Azadi

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