Category Archives: Art community

Noisey Children

Children and noise go together like peanut butter and bananas.  Children like making noise, and as a very young child my oldest loved to play with the toys whose batteries were going dead because they sounded silly.

My youngest is really motivated by Bebot and NodeBeat.  My oldest even delves into Fourier Synthesizer and sampletoy, when he isn’t transfixed with Angry Birds, of course.  They do these things naturally, and in addition to simply making noise with “stuff”.

Unfortunately, even though children and noise are complimentary, the noise scene is about as non-child friendly as poker-games at 2 a.m. with the middle management of your local underground substance trade, or drunken impromptu mixed martial arts in the nearest alley.  You might think that since the noise scene is full of screaming, loud incoherent yelling, and tantrums so intense that at some point someone gives hirself a bloody nose by throwing hirself to the ground – that children would fit right in – but they don’t.

The main reason is obvious.  Sometimes when someone is “exploring” the darker aspects of the human condition (as noise artists are prone to), zie might actually be as dangerous and unhinged as the persona zie is projecting; and even if that person is not violent or dangerous in any way, the subject matter of those explorations are not good for kids nor are kids good for it (at least not in person and in specific – when you are compelled to treat children as real, and not just depicted objects there to illicit an emotional response).

The secondary reason is that the noise scene is just as full of sanctimonious childcare fascists as anywhere else – you know, those that generally don’t have children of their own yet feel the need to criticize and judge every parenting action they become aware of; freaking out the moment you mention you have children because mentioning their existence is just as risky and dangerous as selling them into white slavery, and becoming incensed by you imposing your desires on the children by, I don’t know, actually interacting with your children in any way whatsoever that happens to involve a hobby or avocation of yours.

Do I sound bitter?  I am, a bit.

I discovered that the best way to navigate the self-described “extreme” scene was to take it and dish it out with as much emotional armor and wit as I could muster.  I also made the assumption that (at least online) people were simply allowing themselves fewer filters than they would in other forums and amongst other company.  It’s very enjoyable to feel, essentially, completely free to express yourself however much normal socialization has taught you to measure your words, suppress your feelings, and avoid acting on your impulses.

However, communities with that much freedom of expression do not allow a delusion of safety.  Whether that lack of safety is real or perceived – whether it is less or more than going to the park or the farmers’ market or to school – is irrelevant, really.  If it appears unsafe, the compulsion is to give into the fear of harm, and allow anxiety to dictate your actions.  If the risk is only yours to take-on, the option of fighting through that anxiety, asserting the will to live with enhanced autonomy, and enjoying the experience, is an option.  When the risk is not only yours to take-on that option begins to dry up – and you’re compelled to either hide (in whole or in part) or disengage.

It’s sort of ridiculous really – and exhausting.  Regardless of reality, of the real risks that nearly everyone takes with their children without blinking – that I am deemed “fretful” for taking seriously (such as riding in a car, playing near water, being close to other people’s dogs or wild geese with babies, or climbing on tall playground equipment) – I constantly have to deal with the perception that other human beings, especially men, are all potential predators that have nothing better to do than engage in predation.

Maybe that’s an aspect of the issue here.

A theme within noise, well PE at least, is male power and dominance.  Perhaps the blatant audacity of simply not being sufficiently afraid, places doubt on that painfully transparent posturing.  It’s a reminder that zie is as vulnerable as anyone else; that zie, like everyone else, was once a helpless little baby pushed out of a woman’s vagina or cut out of her abdomen, who, without the intervention of hir guardians, would simply die of starvation or exposure.

Who knows.  Who cares, I suppose.  The solution is simple.