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The concept of Silent Noise, and why we should give it thought

October 6, 2011

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Writer: Meera Vijayann

A couple of months ago, a close friend mentioned that he was attending a ‘Silent Noise’ party in Bangalore. Curious, I looked it up and was tremendously impressed. If you haven’t heard of the Silent Noise Project already, here’s a gist; the project is the brainchild of DJ Justin Mason, who decided to find a way to work around the ban on noise along the beachfront by the Goa authorities. And the idea was simple – instead of blaring loud music after hours, all people had to do was plug in headphones, tune into their favourite DJ and continue foot tapping to the music.  So people were free to club hop, simply sitting by the beachside or sipping on a drink!

Justin Mason’s simple idea lent  a whole new vibe to outdoor parties. Of course, none of these parties lacked the natural flavour of regular late night parties. Complete with performers, dancers, lasers and spectacular visuals, party-goers were promised the entire deal. Needless to say, it is truly phenomenal how something as simple as wireless technology helped resolve a problem by creating a fine balance between silence and noise. But digging deep, I think that the Silent Noise concept also seemed to project a strangely disturbing trend among party-goers and people in general – everyone seemed to feel tremendously happy when they were disconnected, even in a crowd. 

What was the difference between listening to music on your headphones and dancing at home and tuning into headphones in an insane crowd? Nothing. In both situations, we seek to alienate ourselves from our surroundings and connect with our inner selves. An actual party with blaring music seeks to do the exact opposite, it tends to unify an individual his or her surroundings, be it with a song or a cheer. After all, in a Silent Noise party, if you removed your headphones, it presents a comical scene of regular people with headphones simply moving around. So does this mean that technology has worked its way into our lives to an extent that we find ourselves happy and comfortable when we are mentally disconnected with everything around us?

I am thoroughly impressed by the Silent Noise Project, and yet, find myself wondering whether technology might change our social and cultural behaviour in entirety, even before we begin we realise it.

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