I found this article difficult to read, and at first it wasn’t catching my attention. By then Cusick said, “Detainees were not asked questions while subjected to music; they were subjected to music and then sent back to their cells to sleep it off and be interrogated the next day.4 The use of music to manipulate prisoners’ behavior has always been a “condition of detention,” but subsuming acoustical violence at these levels of intensity under that rubric is another sleight of hand.” Her statement immediately reminded me of marketing practices today in grocery stores. “Condition of detention” sounds to me like how malls, grocery stores, etc., play certain types of music to make you stay shopping longer. Of course this is a much less extreme example than Cusick’s example of prison, but I feel the examples relate.
They also go on to discuss how these practices are normalized because this type of audio torture seems less harmful than others, which is why it is often easily dismissed by other’s when it comes to speaking on the topic, but personally I feel it may be a harsher punishment. Physical torture is just that, physical. When torture becomes psychological, I feel it may hurt you in more ways than one, and this doesn’t heal as quickly as maybe a bruise would heal. Audio is also not the only “no-touch” torture they discuss, they also speak about light bombardment, sleep deprivation, and temperature transformations, to which Joseph says could be a minor annoyance but “can transform an annoyance into something physically, psychologically, and even metaphysically devastating,” and I completely agree.
I’m also not trying to say physical torture cannot change a person psychologically, I just believe the damage could be much worse if the intention was to break someone down that way since the start. Considering how important music is, and how it has the power to affect our mood, this form of torture is pretty terrifying especially when you think about how awful it would be to be “forced to vibrate” with music you did not choose.