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Audible developments : geographies of capitalism, nature, and sound on BC's North Coast Ritts, Max Jacob 2018

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AUDIBLE DEVELOPMENTS: GEOGRAPHIES OF CAPITALISM, NATURE, AND SOUND ON BC’S NORTH COAST by  MAX JACOB RITTS  B.A., Honours, McGill University, 2005 M.A., The University of Toronto, 2009  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Geography)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   February 2018  © Max Jacob Ritts, 2018 ii  Abstract  Proceeding from Denning’s (2015) claim that sound is fundamental to social and political analysis, and hence, constitutive of ‘audiopolitics’, the dissertation argues for sound as an expressive medium of industrial development politics on the North Coast of British Columbia (BC), 2007-2015. Informed by sound studies, political ecology, and critical ethnography (Hart 2006), and drawing on eighteen-months of fieldwork (2012-2015), the dissertation identifies connections between large-scale development forces and communities experiencing uneven change. Chapter 2 engages environmental conservation activities through acoustically-mediated whale research, finding that situated conceptions of ‘nature experience,’ linked to institutionally sanctioned practices of interspecies listening, hold formal consistencies with Adorno’s (1951) culture industry. Chapter 3 proceeds as a comparative study of noise abatement in the restructuring city of Prince Rupert, and follows three community campaigns which entangled themselves in locally-operative forms of neoliberal eco-governance. It argues that collective expressions of left melancholy (Brown 1999), and the reified conception of situated ‘past-ness’ they articulate, emerged from efforts to contest industrial sounds without challenging the logics they relied upon. Chapter 4 considers techno-scientific efforts to chart the biological impacts of ocean noise, now considered an emergent marine hazard linked to cavitating ship propellers. The chapter understands the consensus around the regional management of ocean noise ‘risk’ as evidence of hegemonization (Gramsci 2011), revealing a correspondence between marine bio-acoustics practices and capitalist efforts to attain sustainable growth trajectories in ‘risky’ marine space. Chapter 5 examines Gyibaaw (2006-2012), a musical project founded by two teenagers from the Gitga’at First Nation. Using Hall’s (2017) concepts of articulation and conjuncture, it iii  presents Gyibaaw as decolonial audiopolitics, and insists upon the significance of ‘Indigenous black metal’ at a contemporary nexus of Indigenous resurgence, resource extractivism, and ascendant white ethno-nationalism. Across these cases, sounds materialize as potent yet uncertain objects of social mediation, with their political valence not known in advance. The dissertation consistently observes deepening conditions of technological mediation, co-productive of new sonic natures and capitalist social forms, with consequences for local capacities to negotiate socio-ecological change and chart progressive futures.     iv  Lay Summary  This dissertation is about sound and sound’s role in expressing local responses to industrialization on the North Coast of British Columbia, between the years 2007 and 2015. Through case studies involving whale science, community-led noise abatement, underwater marine science, Indigenous popular music, the dissertation demonstrates that sound consistently acts as a bearer or mediator for competing claims over the trajectory of industrial change: whether it should happen, what its social and ecological consequences will be, and for whom it should be purposed. These engagements are presented as ‘audiopolitics,’ a concept which suggests that political struggles routinely operate through the medium of sound. Through a ‘mixed-methods’ research, rooted in 18 months fieldwork with communities on the North Coast, the dissertation finds that sound consistently provides a stage for political struggles, as well as a conduit through which the deepening penetration of technology into all matters of social and environmental life proceeds. v  Preface  This dissertation represents original work, and was completed solely by me, Max Jacob Ritts. I was responsible for all fieldwork efforts – including participant observation, and archival research – as well as interviews and photography (unless otherwise noted). This dissertation has been subjected to the UBC Research Ethics Board and has approval. The Certificate Numbers in question are: H12-01018 and H13-01472. A version of Chapter 4 has already been published: Ritts, M (2017). Amplifying Environmental Politics: Ocean Noise. Antipode 43(4): 2130-2144. I conducted all the writing and edited most of the manuscript myself.    vi  Table of Contents  ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................................. ii LAY SUMMARY ..................................................................................................................... iv PREFACE ................................................................................................................................. v TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................................... vi LIST OF FIGURES ................................................................................................................ vii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................ viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION............................................................................................ 1 CHAPTER 2 - NATURE/INDUSTRY: LISTENING TO WHALES AT CETACEA LAB 41 CHAPTER 3 - THE REIFICATION OF NOISE: NEOLIBERAL POLITICS IN PRINCE RUPERT ................................................................................................................................. 83 CHAPTER 4 - OCEAN NOISE ON THE NORTH COAST .............................................. 138 CHAPTER 5 - GLOBAL INDIGENEITY AND GROUNDED ARTICULATION IN THE BLACK METAL OF GYIBAAW ........................................................................................ 170 CHAPTER 6 - CONCLUSION ............................................................................................ 208 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................. 225 APPENDICES ....................................................................................................................... 263 "APPENDIX A - COLLABORATIVE RESARCH PRAXIS" ............................................. 263 "APPENDIX B - NOISE SURVEY" ................................................................................... 277  vii  List of Figures  Figure 1. 1 The North Coast. Map credit: Eric Leinberger .......................................................... 7 Figure 2. 1 Listening at Cetacea Lab. Photo: Max Ritts (2012). ................................................ 41 Figure 2. 2 Cetacea Lab hydrophone network in 2011. On right, expanded network in 2015. Both images courtesy of Cetacea Lab. ....................................................................................... 56 Figure 3. 1 Graham Avenue, in Rupert’s West End, with a view to the Fairview Terminal, Sept 2013. Photo: B. Denton. Used with permission. ...................................................................... 100 Figure 3. 2 Meters off Water St., facing the downtown rail yard. Sept 2011. Photo: Ken Shaw. Used with permission. ............................................................................................................. 119 Figure 3. 3 Sarah Brown’s house, the Fairview Terminal in background. Dodge Cove. May 2015. Photo: Max Ritts ........................................................................................................... 126 Figure 4. 1 Cumulative sound exposure level from vessel traffic from Jan – Dec 2010. From Erbe et al. (2013). Used with permission. ................................................................................ 149 Figure 5. 1 Norm McLean, bassist, Gyibaaw. Skeena River 2011. Photo Credit: Unknown. Used with permission. ...................................................................................................................... 187 Figure 5. 2 Gyibaaw, live at “Little Big House.” Kamloops, BC 2010. Photo credit: unknown. Used with permission. ............................................................................................................. 202    viii  List of Abbreviations  Please note the abbreviations for these sources from Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks:  FS— Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1995, Minnesota University Press)  SP— Selection from the Prison Notebooks (1971, International)  PN1—Prison Notebooks, Vol. 1 (1992, Columbia University Press)  PN2—Prison Notebooks, Vol. 2. (1996, Columbia University Press)  ix  Acknowledgements   There are simply too many people to thank here. Let me start with my dissertation advisor, Trevor Barnes, whose generosity with critique is well-known, and is surpassed only by his generosity as a friend. Geoff Mann and Karen Bakker were outstanding committee members, and a big part of this project’s success (such as they are). Jonathan Sterne, thank you for your amazing help and guidance. Jess Dempsey and Glen Coulthard were adjuncts in name only. I must thank many great colleagues at UBC: Emilia Kennedy, Andrew Shmuely, Andrea Marston, Matt Dyce, Jonathan Peyton, Juliane Collard, Rosemary-Clare Collard, Dan Cohen, Emily Rosenman, Jon Luedee, Mike Krebs, Dawn Hoogeveen, Jessica Hallenbeck, Shelby Loft, Nina Ebner, Melanie Sommerville, and Tom Howard. Special thanks to Kelsey-Mae Johnson. This project is dedicated to the communities of the North Coast. Let me begin with Hartley Bay, where I must thank Spencer Greening, Jeremy Pahl, Johnny Pahl, Clyde Ridley, Nicole Robinson, Archie Dundas, Cameron Hill, Marven Robinson, Teri-Jo Robinson, Helen Clifton, Tony Eaton, Ian Eaton, Belle Eaton, Mary Danes, Matt Danes, and Stan Robinson. Thanks to my fellow friends of The Bay: Hermann Meuter, Janie Wray, Stan Hutchins, Karen Hutchins, Jeremy Janz, Tracey Robinson, Andy Wright, Kim-Ly Thompson and Chris Picard. From the rest of the Coast, thanks to Molly Clarkson, Moe Atkinson, Jess Rampling, Brian Denton, Peggy Denton, Ken Shaw, Amanda Barney, Sharon Oskey, Lou Allison, Des Nobels, Wendy Brook, Carol Brown, Sarah Chi-Brown, Doug Bodnar, Ellen Marsh, and Bill Smith. To the world beyond, thanks to John Shiga, Martin Danyluk, Josh Akers, Dani Aiello, Heavy Days, Jessi Lehman, and Stuart Gage. Finally, special thanks to my family: Morton Ritts, Maddie Ritts, Zoe Ritts, Erma Ross, and of course, Val Ross. How I wish you were around to read this, mom! 1  CHAPTER 1 -  INTRODUCTION  It was a case of mistaken identity. I was walking through the Rupert Mall parking-lot, an overcast day in February 2013, when I heard the drumbeats: Gonk! Gonk! Gonk! Gonk! All weekend long, Prince Rupert (BC) had been inundated with festivities connected to the All-Native Basketball Tournament, an event bringing hundreds of visitors to the small northern city. A drumming geek, I pursued the sounds to the mall entrance, where I expected members of a celebrating team – the Ahousaht, perhaps, or the Haida. Instead, I discovered an orange-shirted dance crew from the Prince Rupert Chinese Association. At their helm was a great Lion Head. The Lion, nostrils flaring, was swaying to the beat of a single drummer. A crowd gathered and took pictures. Then, prompted by some cue I failed to register, the Lion began moving down the hallway. The dancers followed. And coming in the rear was the suddenly mobile crowd; an unlikely procession for a traditional chi-ching. As the drumming continued, the Lion danced toward the store-fronts inside the half-dead mall, bestowing good economic fortune as it gobbled up the lettuce-heads left there as offerings.       Hype routinely supplies the back-beat to capitalist development. For many of us in the Rupert Mall that afternoon, a circulating feeling of buildup had materialized into a bracing audibility; a hype whose significance can only be understood when apprehended in context. Between 2007-2015, Prince Rupert and the surrounding North Coast was gripped by prospects of industrial development. Communities up and down the Coast became fused to a narrative that was a hundred years in the making: Asia Pacific economic integration (Government of Canada, 2006; Pietera et al., 2010; Stalk and McMillian, 2013). Proposals for Liquefied Natural Gas 2  (LNG), port expansions, pipelines, and risk-mitigating environmental-observation infrastructure could be found everywhere – in municipal offices, websites, and notice boards.  Government scientists from Transport Canada and the Department and Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), documentary film-makers, and large environmental organizations (WWF, The Nature Conservancy) arrived to assess the impacts and prepare triage reports to protect pristine natures (Alidina et al. 2012; Erbe et al. 2013). Many local residents applauded the proposals, seeing in them an end to years of crushing unemployment and outmigration. But for others, development was not so easily consented to, provoking concerns, anxieties, and political oppositions – especially by Indigenous communities (Wood and Rossiter, 2016).    In this dissertation, I listen to capitalist development on the North Coast, understanding it as distinctive “audiopolitics,” defined by culture, nature and power. Audiopolitics is a term I borrow from Michael Denning (2015). It suggests that sound is more than travelling vibrations.  Sound is a material and a semiotic phenomenon (Kim-Cohen, 2013): a form whose socio-cultural meaning and political-economic function is historically produced through interlinked material and discursive practices operating across specific landscapes. Throughout history, humans have mobilized various sounds as a way of managing time and space. They have used sounds to mark out territory, identify place, and model identity. More lately, territorializing modes of ‘sonic warfare’ (Goodman 2009) and behavior-altering micro-sounds (Raffles 2011) have enrolled sounds into the administration of diverse ecologies and economies – developments that have proliferated in connection with new technologies of sound production and measurement. In Prince Rupert and the Gitga’at village of Hartley Bay, communities which hosted me for the bulk of this fieldwork, global shifts in digital sound culture would entangle with local aural 3  knowledges, including forms of maritime knowledge shaped by crashing winter storms and gently calling birds (Boas 1983; Barbeau 1954). With their symbolisms, socio-ecological dynamics, and acculturated histories of perception and feeling, sounds routinely lead us to audio-politics. This project effects a spatial versioning of Denning’s concept, one alive to nature’s difference, and what I hope to present as the defining arc of North Coast politics: the diversity of grounded Indigenous lifeways in the region, and the ‘coloniality’ of local resource development politics, as commonly construed (Mignolo 2009).    The capitalist-cum-colonial “development” in question here is of the sort Hart (2010) terms “Little d” – e.g. “the development of capitalism as geographically uneven but spatially interconnected processes of creation and destruction” (109). It is easy enough to suppose capitalism’s creative destructive tendencies shape what we hear, but why study development through sound? The connection between the two is hardly novel: scholars of capitalism have long looked to sonic metaphors to understand capitalist dynamics, uncovering capitalist “counter-rhythms” (Lefebvre, 2004); “noise” (Attali, 1985); “resonance” (Amoore, 2013), “polyphony” (Tsing, 2015), “harmonies and disharmonies” (Bensaid, 2002: 270).  Working in the broadly recognized ‘sensory’ turn (Howes 2004), some scholars have pursued more direct set of relationships as well. Parr’s (2009) Sensing Changes uses the sensory to theorize local experiences of industrial megaprojects. She convincingly shows that environmental knowledge is produced by sensory encounters, including smell, touch, and listening. Dyson’s The Tone of Our Times (2014) uses sound as an analytic for investigating economic and ecological systems undergoing profound change. Sonic environments routinely explain broader dynamics, her study reveals, as with the stock exchange whose ‘racket’ once carried traces of human engagements on 4  trading floors and telephones, but which have since dissolved into the deepening abstraction of machine-based algorithms.  These works are useful building blocks for forging the connections I want to make between sound and capitalist development. But rather than explore micro-politics of sonic embodiment, or observe a series of broadly applicable insights, I use sound studies to engage the panorama of capitalist development on the North Coast. Between the years I survey (2007-2015), development would materialize in the region as a neo-colonial expansion of industrial supply zones and commodities trading routes – each largely in response to projected Asian energy demands (Bridge 2014). This would result in new infrastructural projects, increased vessel activities, local forms of urban and rural restructuring, and a great wave of incoming environmental and economic expertise. The dissertation uses four sonic studies to draw out some of the impacts of these activities, listening to sounds that were co-produced with these capitalist circulations and socio-ecological shifts. The combined result of these cases is a composite portrait of the North Coast; a polyphonic geography articulated through distinctive audiopolitics.    The audiopolitics explored here are diverse. After decades of absence, whales would begin to re-populate the Camano Sound region of the North Coast beginning in the early 2000s, bringing researchers and environmentalists from around the world to a remote whale research station called Cetacea Lab. Scientists made aware of the “coming boom” of regional shipping (Heise and Barret-Lennard, 2008: 1) would respond by dropping hydrophones in the Hecate Straight, using it as a commercial laboratory to measure the biological impacts of anthropogenic “ocean noise” (Aladina et al., 2012).  In the city of Prince Rupert, noisy port expansion would 5  cause fury among local residents, leading these residents to unwittingly produce a reified political discourse that excluded rather than included their meaningful participation. Tuning their guitars to the Traditional Territory of Gitga’ata, the Indigenous musicians of Gyibaaw articulate a very different appreciation of the North Coast than liberal Canada affirms. In their self-actualizing and decolonizing music, Gyibaaw offered a soundtrack to one of the most hopeful political developments in recent history: Indigenous resurgence (Simpson, 2013; Coulthard, 2014).   Across each of these cases, sound provides a substratum for sensing-making, for sorting out the confusions of development and its real and unexpected changes. These acts focus our attention on a theme that runs through the case studies. For Marx (1975: 324), objectification is the means by which people appropriate the natural world, and produce useful objects: “The product of labor is labor embodied and made material in an object, it is the objectification of labor. The realization of labor is its objectification.” For Marx, objectification is an unavoidable fact of life. All societies must objectify themselves in the physical objects they need as well as the social structures within which they conduct their affairs. Two central themes are worth remarking upon here. First, by objectifying ourselves in our products (e.g. a clock or a song), we come to recognize our capacities as real and objective – we develop a consciousness of ourselves. Second, by “humanizing” our environments (Hegel, 1975: 256), by populating it with our objects, we (partially) make the world, which ceases to be as alien and hostile, and comes to acquire a coherence. In this sense, labor is not only a process of satisfying material needs, but a material, relational, and emotional way of being in the world.   6  Marx famously suggested that the objectification of sound denotes shifts in the constitution of the human senses (Marx 1975, 353).1  His example was music – the way Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major causes the listener to imagine that time has altogether stopped, for example – but the idea can apply to organized sounds more generally. Between 2007- 2015, sound would routinely offer a means for people to populate the North Coast with experiences and expectations of capitalist development. Different forms of meaning and understanding would result from these efforts. Up and down the North Coast, one finds a great proliferation of sonic objects – tapes, LPs, hydrophone recordings, transcripts, sound-maps – produced from subjective engagements with the world. They represent historical baselines and statistical predictions, as well as collective hopes, fears and desires. The examples I engage in this project all respond to a contemporary North Coast gearing up for capitalist development. They are joined by a conviction that sounds can express some measure of capitalist development: its biophysical transformations, cultural impacts, social consequences, and political possibilities.  This dissertation argues that sonic engagements hold consequence for how capitalist development is itself conceptualized, managed, opposed. And because sonic engagements are power-laden, historically-produced, and actively shaped by different social interests, we can                                                1 Marx’s famous passage on music and the senses appears in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844): “Only music can awaken the musical sense in man and the most beautiful music has no sense for the unmusical ear, because my object can only be the confirmation of one of my essential powers, i.e. can only be for me in so  far as my essential power exists for me as a subjective attribute (this is because the sense of an object for me  extend only as far as my senses extend, only has sense for a sense that corresponds to that object). In the same way, and for the same reason, the senses of social man are different from those of non-social man. Only through the objectively unfolded wealth of human nature can the wealth of subjective human sensitivity—a musical ear, an eye for the beauty of form, in short, senses capable of human gratification—be either cultivated or created. For not only the five senses, but also the so-called spiritual senses, the practical senses (will, love, etc.), in a word, the human sense, the humanity of the senses—all these come into being only through the existence of their objects, through humanized nature” (quoted in Marx, 1975: 353). 7  understand them as audiopolitics (Denning, 2015); that is, the political remaking of humans and natures in conditions of uneven and accelerating capitalist development.   Audible Developments   Figure 1. 1 The North Coast. Map credit: Eric Leinberger  This dissertation is an account of the different ways sound became a resource for negotiating development on the North Coast, 2007-2015. I focus on four sound-types: whale sounds, ocean noise, industrial noise, Indigenous black metal. Far from independent acoustic events, each are “objects of a total historical situation caught up in the process of historical change” (Lukács, 1971: 168). They exist as discrete objects and expressive audiopolitics, co-8  constituted with broader forces. They point to an array of ideas, natures, practices, and communities. By understanding sound as a mode of knowledge production, an instrument of power, and a “shared property onto which many claims are made” (Labelle, 2011 xxiv), we can link sound to broader struggles over nature, identity, and power. In the North Coast in the years 2007-2015, whale sounds became celebrated by environmentalists as bearers of nature spectacle; scientists constructed vast archives to determine baseline ecological conditions; local residents railed against industrial noise that mapped out dreaded futures and nostalgic pasts; and Indigenous musicians prefigured social orders that explode into protests that continue to redefine Canadian civil society.    Sounds do not produce politics automatically, by virtue of their formal characteristics (real or imagined). Rather, audiopolitics demand labors of interpretation. And such labors, caught within development’s maelstrom of change and its denominative experience of “time space compression” (Harvey 1989), rarely produce their objects without interference and remainder. This is one reason why ‘noise,’ typically defined as ‘unwanted sound’ but routinely meaning so much more (as we shall see), is a central figuration to the audiopolitics I study. Like all sounds, noise has a material existence. It is a wave, a fluctuation in air pressure. Noise is nature; abiotic energies tracing impressions through media and technology (Kahn, 2013). Noise is also a culture symbol; routinely assessed an unwanted remainder; a materiality which proves that transmissions are not seamless (Novak, 2014; Haggarty, 2007; Schwartz, 2011).2 The types of noise I consider here belong to “industrial ecologies” (Cousins and Newell, 2015). They are                                                2 Nor is it possible to subtract gender and difference from our understandings of noise, both in the way noise is produced and the way it is experienced and responded to. See especially the work of Tara Rodgers (2008, 2010). 9  construction booms, shunting trains, ship propellers, hydrophone feedback: energy and matter outputs produced through metabolic processes (physical movements, efforts sourcing the ocean for information, music-making, etc.). Train whistles and distorted guitars don’t typically fall into this frame but are similarly socio-natural, and themselves conditioned by development forces – as social histories of rail expansion (Schivelbrusch, 1986) and heavy metal music additionally aver (Weinstein, 1990). In the North Coast, technologically-produced noises are meeting points “for a larger matrix of cultural forces” (Radovac, 2014: 23), whose political valence “cannot be assumed in advance” (Drott, 2016: 756).   This study listens to the North Coast at a unique time in its history. The years 2007-2015 not only concern the rise to prominence of new kinds of sonic nature, but also new infrastructures for making sense. My project took shape as hydrophones started to proliferate up and down the North Coast; as more and more institutions began using acoustic baselines and sound-maps as environmental governance tools; and when the fragility of nature to too much sound became an establish marine scientific concern (Erbe et al., 2012; Ashe, Wray and Picard, 2013; Canadian Innovation News 2017). Acts of sounding and listening are always historically-determined. The audiopolitics I examine in the contemporary North Coast partake in wider developments in the history of sonic modernity. Central here is digitization. Digital media, along with new storage and transmission systems (Sterne, 2012; Bull, 2013) and acoustically-mediated forms of representation and spectacle (Kassabian, 2013; Kanngieser, 2015), are increasingly directing the ecological and earth observation sciences. Automated recording systems are now common tools in emerging sub-disciplines like soundscape ecology (Pijanowski et al., 2011; Gage and Farina, 2013), eco-informatics (Michener and Jones, 2012), and renovated forms of 10  cetology and marine mammalogy (Benson, 2011). Calibrated digital hydrophones acoustics are facilitating the production of new baselines of oceanographical conditions (Helmreich, 2015), and reducing the cost of marine logistics (Collins, 2017). The ‘sonificiation’ of data (Supper 2014) is converting massive time-series data into frequencies within audible ranges and durations, making it possible for scientists to audit complex planetary changes – like the carbonization of the earth’s atmosphere (The Economist 2016). Audiopolitics itself becomes conceivable because of these new technologies and techniques.  For some researchers, a sense of the planetary is now apparent in the form of “a distinctive biostratigraphic signal,” emerging from the worldwide “combination of extinctions, global migrations… and replacement of natural vegetation with agricultural monocultures” (Zalasiewicz et al., 2008: 6l). In the North Coast and elsewhere, digitization has transformed sound into resource for perceiving, understanding, and contesting the ontology of nature in new ways.3  The title of acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton’s recent book, The Earth is a Solar Powered Jukebox (2016), is apt: we live in a world in which the assembled mass of earth signals increasingly presents itself as “an immense accumulation” of digitally recorded sounds (Marx, 1990: 125).  Studied through sound, digitization can be understood as a process that affects the sensing of nature, the partitioning of resources, and the contested experience of time and space. These themes can in turn inform the ‘development’ questions environmental geographers typically engage through non-auditory approaches, providing windows onto their unseen, intimate, and atmospheric aspects. As geographers seeking to engage the rhythms and                                                3 Apple Inc.’s acquisition of Beats Electronics (2014), and’s recent patent for a sound-activated underwater storage system (2017), are notable examples of the new ways sound is informing technical efforts to augment profit-streams and market efficiencies (Papenburg and Schulze 2016: 5).   11  trajectories of contemporary capitalist development, we do well to attune ourselves to these moments of worldly engagement.4 In the next section, I outline the tenets of sound studies in more detail, whose successful integration into geography is central to the audiopolitics that follow.   Geography and Sound Studies      Over the last 15 years, a set of inquiries and conversations operating under the banner of “sound studies” have gained traction across the social sciences and humanities.  Spanning cultural history, anthropology, STS, and media theory, sound studies examines how humans give social significance to sound across a variety of encounters (Bull and Back, 2003; Pinch 2003; Sterne 2003; Erlmann, 2004; Keeling and Kun, 2011). Scholars working in this area have demonstrated how a sound’s “salience” and “emotional charge” (Daughtry, 2015: 38) are   shaped by formations of class (Picker, 1999); ethnicity (Radovac, 2014); religious practice (Hirshkind, 2005); and technical expertise (Thompson, 2002). Sound studies asserts that ways of listening are much more than culturally embedded affairs. Rather, as “audile techniques” (Sterne 2003), ways of listening are constructed though arrangements of physical and discursive effort, and differentially calibrated by institutional and social context.  The result is a range of surprising insights into the rules governing stethoscope-wielding doctors (Rice 2013); music fans enjoying personal hi-fi equipment (Perlman, 2005), and hydrophone-bearing environmentalists (Chapter 1), among many other examples.                                                  4 No social scientific studies of sound and the North Coast currently exist, although there is a rich ethnomusicology literature on the late 19th Century music and early 20th Century brass bands led by First Nations communities in the area (see: Neylan and Meyer, 2007).  12   This dissertation treats noise as an expressive feature of differently-situated expressions of audiopolitics. Throughout history, tension regarding the question of what can and cannot be heard routinely informs judgements about what sounds and worth listening for where. Behaving at times as an audible distraction and at others as a force undergoing active suppression (and hence, inaudible), noise troubles stable definitions of audiopolitics. Routinely, noise teaches us that sonic meanings emerge “according to presumptions” which “vary according to historical, geographical, and cultural location” (Hegarty, 2007: 1). As audiopolitics, noise problematizes listenership, and the social capacity to ascribe meaning to perceptible changes in the world. Modern culture is beset with sounds people attempt to filter out of everyday significance or remain largely unaware: underwater sounds (Helmreich, 2007); barely heard sounds (Mowitt, 2012); extremely low ‘infrasound’ (Goodman, 2009); bio-chemical reactions (Roosth, 2009); “acoustic debris” (Rose-Hunt, 2014), and the unheard (Mills, 2010). Another area of work I consider in the increasing attention to economies of sound in sound studies (Taylor, 2012; Supper, 2014; Gopinath, 2014; Knouf, 2016). Such work discloses a widening appreciation of the way sound cultures shape political-economic activity: whether in institutionalized sites of music (Born, 2013), the mobile listening practices of consumer-citizens (Bull, 2013), or globally-circulating MP3 files (Sterne, 2012). Finally, this project considers sound studies that engage the space-making potentials of sound, including the way modern acoustics has been informed by cubist, positivist and Cartesian theories of space (Thompson, 2002; Demers, 2010; Sterne, 2015).       In geography, early forays into sound studies were mediated through interests in “sense of place” (cf. Jackson, 1972; Massey, 1994), including historical associations between landscape 13  and particular sounds (Garrioch, 1998; Matless, 2005). Themes have included sonic technologies and the  contemporary experience of the urban (Chambers, 2004; Gandy and Nilsen, 2014); soundwalks as a cultural practice (Adams, 2009; Gallagher and Prior, 2013); sound and everyday life (Butler, 2006); sound and the production of space (DeSilvey 2010; Gallagher 2015; Gallagher et al., 2016; Revill, 2014); the experience of musical performance (Anderson et al. 2005; Smith 1997); the role of sound for the development of new research tools and methodological innovations (Wood et al., 2007).   A more recent wave of interest in sound, beginning roughly in the mid-2000s, came at time of renewed engagements with materiality, affect, and the inadequacy of visual representation in explaining worldly phenomena – what Gregory (1994) dubbed “cartographic anxiety.” As Labelle (2015: 298) notes, “sound is often put to use to give registration to what is below or above, under or inside, forgotten or ineffable.” Sound’s contributing role in affective politics of ‘dread’ (Goodman 2009) has spawned a range of works exploring hauntings, military culture, ecological unrest in Anthropocene (Anderson, 2016; Adey, 2013; Revill, 2015; Kanngieser 2015; Lorimer, 2016; Gallagher, et al. 2016). As Kanngieser (2015: 1) notes: “Sound is not only of the human, it undermines human exceptionalism; everything vibrates on some frequency and is touched by vibration, regardless of how imperceptible to human sensibility this might be.” Such work has used sound to productively ask questions about the relationship between anxiety, listening and place (Whitehouse, 2015); the role of non-human agencies in earth-making processes (Gallagher et al. 2016); and the formation of affective politics (Kanngieser, 2015).  14  This dissertation recognizes the salience of these questions, but proceeds along a different theoretical approach. Before introducing it, mention must be made of acoustic ecology, an additional departure point for this study. First set out in Schafer’s The Tuning of the World (1977) and developed further in Truax’s Acoustic Communication (1984), acoustic ecology elaborates the concept of the soundscape as a theory and practice of environmental listening. In Schafer’s (1994: 7) original definition, the soundscape “is any acoustic field of study. We may speak of a musical composition as a soundscape, or a radio programme as a soundscape or an acoustic environment as a soundscape.” The result is an avant la lettre attempt to highlight the relationship between sound studies and geography vis a vis the environment. Alongside studies of noise policy, acoustic ecologists have also developed pre-figurative environmentalist practices to generate better sonic communities – most notable the ‘sound-walk’ methodology I explore here (Westerkamp, 1989; Traux, 2001). New conceptual approaches, such as McCartney’s (2013) engagement with acoustic “ecotones,” and Jordan’s (2013) investigations into nature and cinema, represent important developments in acoustic ecology and critical self-examinations too.   Although acoustic ecology has created important conditions of possibility for sound studies – not to mention broader public appreciations of sound’s role in everyday life– the tradition remains linked to a set of problematic tendencies. Radovac (2014: 6) notes that acoustic ecologists are often “stubbornly unreflexive” about the practice of sonic research, including the paradoxical reliance practitioners have technological sound production tools to critique industrial culture (see: Feld 2015).5 Other scholars point out that Schafer’s notion of the soundscape is                                                5 In this regard, one recent and inspiring model of scholarship is Jacob Smith’s (2015) Eco-Sonic Media, which bills itself as a “green” theory of audio technologies. 15  “lined with ideological and ecological messages about which sounds “matter” and which do not” (Kelman 2010: 214). In Schafer’s case, the value of preserving sonic natures appears to be informed by Neo-Malthusianism: “I happen to think that Canada is already overpopulated, and probably,” he wrote in 1984, and “most people who live outside cities would agree with me (Schafer 1984: ix). As Akiyama (2014) points out, acoustic ecology has for much of its existence espoused a liberal environmentalism that remains affixed to notions of pure untrammeled Canadian ‘Northern-ness’. Although recent acoustic ecology has taken laudable steps to correct these tendencies (e.g. McCartney, 2013; Jordan, 2015), the approach remains limited by lack of systematic attention to social power broadly construed (see also: Thompson, 2002; Feld, 2015).  As I explore in the next section, the question of social power – what Schoenberger (2015) ranges into the capacities of individuals, classes, and the market (we might add non-human natures as well) – is central to the audio-politics I study. So too is the evolving political character of the North Coast, a geography marked by the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples, and the accelerating struggle over resources and livelihoods. Sound studies cannot necessarily address these struggles head on.  But for sound studies to inform the evolution of political ecology and critical geography, its engagements must be linked with the critique of the dominant forms of social power in places like the North Coast: gender, race and class exploitation; colonialism; militarism and state surveillance; the urban question; environmental governance; climate change, etc. Rather than begin with the idea of “sound as an inherently political medium” (Kanngieser, 2015: 1), this study recognizes sound as an uncertain object of social and analytic mediation, whose political valences cannot be known in advance. In the next section, I outline an alternative approach to sound studies than the ones presented here.   16   Marxism and Sound Studies   Although dialoging with an array of scholarly subfields (including musicology, marine geography, and critical Indigenous studies), this dissertation most consistently examines audiopolitics through Marxist political ecology (Watts, 1983; Blakie and Brookfield, 1987; Robbins, 2004; Guthman, 2011; Moore, 2014). It engages sound studies as a critical, historically-situated mode of inquiry, into which matters of nature are always matters of politics as well. Consistent with a Marxist critique, each of the audiopolitics I consider here indicates something about the broader socio-natural order and antagonistic character of capitalist development. The case studies affirm development in its North Coast particularities (where whale sounds mediate acts of environmentalism and marine spatial planning, for example), while simultaneously articulating a general idea or process (such as historically changeable ‘nature experience’ or marine ‘risk’). If the purpose of materialist enquiry is, as O’Connor (1998: 37) suggests, “to show in what forms, and over what domains, and capital circulation exists and with what effects,” then audiopolitics are worth taking seriously. They reveal how broad narratives of capitalist development, such as neoliberalism, colonialism, and ecological change, actually operate in the world.    To develop these claims, this dissertation draws from four thinkers associated with the tradition of Western Marxism: Theodore Adorno, Gyorgy Lukács, Stuart Hall, and Antonio Gramsci. It draws on thinkers who elaborate on Marxist ideas, such as Joanna Demers, Wendy Brown, and Glen Coulthard. And it attempts to place the results into conversation with scholars 17  working in a broadly conceived Marxist political ecology: Jason Moore, Bruce Braun, Alex Loftus, Geoff Mann, Joel Wainwright, Karen Bakker, and Bram Buscher. This wide body of scholarship contains within it a range of disagreements and differences. For instance, and as noted in Chapter 2, Lukács and Gramsci had very different appraisals of science and its political possibilities. Very different Marxisms inform the efforts of Braun and Mann. I do not attempt to rectify these and other differences in what follows. Rather, I focus on the critical possibilities and shared insights their works generate.6    The proposition that capitalism operates as a kind of “totality,” or unified system of interconnected relations, but whose appearance is one of shiftless differentiated geographies, is fundamental to this project (Jameson, 1984). From Adorno, Lukács, Gramsci, and Hall, I hope to construct a Marxism alert to questions of materiality and difference, and relentlessly attentive to dialectical relationships between the particular and the general. Whereas some Marxists advocate for an ‘analytic’ approach – not to pass judgments, but simply to chart the movements of capital “in the very sound of the musical tracks” (Krims, 2000: 142) – the thinkers I am inspired by are ‘critical’ thinkers. They insist on articulating normative claims to the problems they uncover. This is one reason why questions of ethics and aesthetics consistently feature alongside insights about commodity fetishism, and hegemonic-class alliances (Eagleton, 1990). A touchstone here is Marx’s (1844) Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, among other things a powerful critique of sensory alienation under a prevailing industrial capitalism.  One of its key insights,                                                6 I do not claim to offer an extended comparative critique of this authors here. It is sufficient for my purposes that each thinker retains an understanding of labor “as an activity mediating humans and nature that transforms matter in a goal directed manner and is a condition of social life” (Postone, 2009: 34); each recognizes the role of ideology in shaping social understandings of nature as; and each holds a commitment to progressive politics.   18  upon which much the above noted theory has reflected, is the notion that “the forming of the five senses is a labour of the entire history of the world” (Marx, 1975: 353). Ways of listening and sense-making are historically produced, contingent and could be otherwise. From Marx, the very composition of the human ear – beset today with rings, beeps, low frequency hums, noise-canceling shields, tinnitus-inducing earbuds that never before existed – is different today than it was in the past. This dissertation builds on this claim, arguing that the forming and reforming of capacities for listening, singing and noise-making model situated and multi-species negotiations with capitalist development on the North Coast.    The question of technology is also central to this critique. As Bull and Back note (2016: 7): “It was the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research that first warned of the ideological dangers embedded in the role of the media in the twentieth century.” Critical theory teaches us that those facets of capitalist culture that appear as passive bearers of its relations – record players, telephones, computers – are in fact central conditions of its possibility (Jay, 2016). Picking up on Marx’s concern that the worker is “debased and deformed until he loses all notion of sensory refinement” (1975: 117), Lukács (1923) and Adorno (1938) formulated powerful theories of “reification” and “regressed listening” to chart the perverse “tunings” capitalism imposes on its subjects. In so doing, these thinkers opened up lineages that continue to expand the role of mediation to contemporary forms of capitalist domination (Dean 2009; Bull, 2013; Feenberg 2014, 2015). This dissertation argues that development is also a proliferation of new technologies – hydrophones, headphones, underwater cables, online complaint forms, WAV files, sound maps – through which the very ontology of development can be better known and critiqued. Technological mediation is never neutral to development politics. Rather, it always 19  sets uneven conditions of possibility for its “environmental imaginaries” (Peet and Watts, 2014), subject positions (DeNora, 2000), and modes of perceiving nature (Murakami-Wood 2013). Today, myriad technologies of measuring and representing, exploring and navigating are producing places like the North Coast, exemplary of a new planetary imaginary of capitalist accumulation (Edwards, 2010; Murakami-Wood, 2013). A technologically-reflexive study of development is more warranted than ever before.  With greater emphasis than Adorno and Lukács (certainly with greater success), Gramsci and Hall insisted that Marxist study remain dialectically open to new political possibilities that take shape in the world (e.g. Loftus, 2012). One result of this rapprochement is that ‘science,’ maligned as intrinsically subservient to capital in Adorno and Lukács, is repositioned in Gramsci and Hall as site of socialist possibility; a project whose political valence is not predetermined Chapter 3). Likewise, music is appraised in this study as a powerful audio-politics which is nevertheless “without guarantees” (Hall, 1988); able to articulate a range of political identifications (sometimes simultaneously). In the works of Hall (1981, 1988) and Gramsci (2011), we see the great value of critical self- reflexivity. Their insistence that capitalist struggle be understood in its “regional” and “historical” specificity (Hall, 1986), means that critique must always be responsive to situated political possibility and actually-existing social formations.    In the next section, I bring this theoretical conversation into disciplinary context of political ecology, where I argue an audiopolitics of capitalist development on the North Coast is best located.    20   Into Political Ecology  Political ecology attends to the systematic social, political, and economic factors that shape environmental change. A central claim in the field is that capital accumulation and capitalist social relations (e.g. private property, class, commodification) propel much of the environmental transformation, degradation, and conflict that goes on in the modern world. Political ecologists routinely demonstrate this theme through the production of new natures (Collard, 2014), the re-distribution of environmental costs and benefits (Heynen and Perkins, 2007), and the institutional frameworks directing the social mobilization of nature (Swyngedouw 2004). As such, political ecology is a powerfully epistemological project, seeking to “shatter comfortable and simplistic “truths” about the relationship between society and its natural environment” (Perrault et al., 2015: 5).  Foundational political ecological works demonstrate how local ecologies and livelihoods become transformed by flows of global capital (Watts 1983; Goldman, 2004; Gidwani, 2008; Hart, 2013). Along the way, important correctives have been set to the unreflexive anthropocentrism that appears in strands of Marxist political ecology (Benton, 1991) – ecologically-transformative power relations always consist of multiple, intersecting axes and categories of social difference in any social setting. not all of which can be reduced to capital (Rocheleau et al., 2008, Saldanha, 2005). Insofar as capitalism continues to dominate the discussion, it is clear that the path to the production of socio-natures is not predetermined; rather, as Henderson compellingly showed (1998: 76), “nature repels and attracts capital in different ways according to historical ... contingen[cies].” 21     This work builds into several debates in the political ecology field.  Among these is environmental governance work that examines the state’s shifting role as arbiter of socio-environmental change (Parenti, 2011; Bridge 2001, 2014; Robertson, 2015). Over the last 30 years, “the environment” has become a key rationality of rule over diverse human and non-human populations (Nadasdy, 2005; Dempsey 2011; Hart 2013).  As a neo-colonial territorializing process, state-led industrial development carries differential impacts on different kinds of environment practices, with effects that traverse the realms of ontology, epistemology, and materiality (Li, 2007; Bakker, 2013; Sundberg, 2014).  This has propelled new disciplinary efforts to chart the violence of settler-colonial efforts to administer Indigenous cultures (Forsyth, 2003; Nadasdy, 2005; Simpson, 2014, Pasternak, 2017).  Clearly, what counts as “nature” matters to the ways nature is ‘ruled’ – e.g. measured and administrated – an issue with acute significance in a North Coast where neoliberal states and private actors seek newfangled access to the Traditional Territories of the Coastal First Nations.  Attuned to such trends (though rarely to their sonic dimensions), political ecologists have undertaken important efforts to consider the expanding role the “politics of measure” has acquired within the politics of nature more broadly (Mann 2007: 21, Turner et al., 2013; Lave, 2015; Baka, 2015).   An early inspiration to this project, Bruce Braun’s (2002) The Intemperate Rainforest is a rich and variegated analysis of contemporary rainforests conflicts in BC. His study culminates in a call for a “postcolonial environmentalism” in which nature routinely features in “the messy world of history and politics” (2002: x). This is an argument I hope to advance in a slightly different form here.  Another broad engagement I take up in this project involves questions of 22  environmental knowledge and perception, such as are laid out in Liberation Ecologies (Peet and Watts, 2004).  Political ecologists have long been interested in how environmental realities emerge from “practical knowledge” acquired from shaping and reworking natures, in particularly through “sensuous human labour” (Loftus, 2012: 183; Kosek 2006; Fennell 2011).  Through its engagement with sonic media, this dissertation hopes to contribute to new conversations at the intersection of political ecology and critical media studies (Igoe, 2011; Buscher et al., 2014; Sullivan, 2011, 2016; Fletcher, 2016 a,b). Social media-based environmentalisms now powerfully shape the way natures are known and acted upon.   To better understand these developments, political ecologists can look to rich work in the environmental humanities, which is a conversation this project seems to encourage. Scholars in this field recognize that “the media have been intimate environmental participants for a long time” (Maxwell and Miller 2013: 1; Starosielski, 2015; Peters, 2015, Cubbit, 2017), a fact as true below the water’s surface as it is above it. Development has always been about media – ledgers, cameras, yardsticks – but we are witnessing a phase shift in the “becoming environmental” of media, amid the current digitization of social life (Gabrys, 2017). Increasingly, the politics of development is becoming a politics of digital vs. analog hydrophones, overdrawn or underperforming bandwidths, and huge infrastructures of global earth governance (Edwards 2010; Easterling, 2014; Carse and Lewis 2016). As I suggest in the appendices of this project, geographers might in turn shift their analytical methods to draw from newfangled technologies, understanding them as powerful tools for relating to diverse communities and deliberating on emergent community concerns (Ritts et al. 2016). The digitization of ecology has potentially huge implications for how we conceive and perceive what political ecology is all about.   23  If “political ecology stories are stories of justice and injustice,” (Robbins 2012: 87), they are nevertheless often stories without conclusions. Some of the subjects I am most critical towards in this project – environmentalism, Prince Rupert’s political left – are those that matter most to my own problematic as a white settler and academic researcher. I write from the conviction that environmentalism and Prince Rupert’s political left need to better understand their failures if they are to succeed. Following Nancy Fraser (2003), I strive for a “transformative critique,” which seeks to identify contradictions internal to social systems in the hope of improving their laudable goals.  Andrew Baldwin (2017) argues climate change entails “a crisis in a humanist tradition unable to grasp that we inhabit a world saturated by hyper-objects” (2017: 5). Against this view, I argue that the dominant environmental issues of our time do not require us to abandon the insights left by thinkers like Adorno and Gramsci. Rather, we should look to them with fresh concerns and questions in mind, and seek to further their commitments to socially just, anti-capitalist futures. In this next section, I overview the study site that forms the basis of my efforts to do just that.    The North Coast     This project examines the North Coast at a time when fundamental shifts were taking place in the global economy.7 The central development here was the emergence of China, whose                                                7 In state-parlance, the “North Coast” is a legislative designation for an expansive coastal area of the provincial mainland British Columbia. It extends from the Hakai Protected Area in the south to the southeastern edge of the Alaska Panhandle to the north (Coupland et al, 2003). Many other terms also apply to this region, and will be used intermittently: Mid-Coast Timber Supply Area; Great Bear Rainforest; Critical Whale Habitat; Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor, and the Traditional Territory of the Gitaga’at Nation (one among several Coastal First Nations). I use the ‘North Coast’ designation most often because it is most commonly used term among the subjects I engage. 24  national economy had experienced unprecedented growth in export volumes and expected energy demands – the latter serving to provide revenues for the former – beginning in the early 2000s (Arrighi, 2007). For resource peripheries like the North Coast, the global economic developments heralded by China most visibly took the form of massive energy projects, proposed by transnational firms, and tethered to complex, fragmented production chains (e.g. LNG Canada 2013; Prince Rupert LNG 2013; see also: Hart-Landsberg, 2013). In Canada, such global economic shifts were seized upon by a Conservative government determined to submit its land base to energy market at all costs. The first phase of the state’s renewed ‘coast-ward’ push was embodied in the Enbridge Northern Gateway project (2004-2015). But in BC, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) soon the eclipsed tar sands as an economic panacea; a more marketable “green” energy source whose connections to destructive fracking (a spatial process largely occurring elsewhere in the province) could be suppressed. Between 2006 and 2016, LNG gas production in BC increased by 60 per cent (Lee, 2016), generously aided by state-endowed tax credits, political favors, and legal oversights (Klein, 2015). By 2013, LNG appeared poised for an economic breakthrough. According to the BC Liberal Party, a North American gas glut, coupled with attractive price disparities between North American natural gas and those in Asia, made the idea of a West Coast LNG export infrastructure a “generational opportunity” for BC residents (BC Throne Speech, 2014).8   At the same time that LNG dreams intensified, concomitant changes in the container shipping industry, including the specialization of container ships and the growth in vessel size                                                8  A further limitation on natural gas usage is the difficulty of its transportation, particularly overseas and over long distances. There are several key ‘chokepoints’ in Northwest BC, as noted by Cowen (2014). See: also Bridge (2004).   25  (Ircha, 2001, 319), helped to rekindle dreams of an Asia-Pacific trade route – dubbed “Project Silk” by local operatives (Hick, 2011). The federal and local governments, also recognizing the renewed potential of an “Asia Pacific Gateway,” began aggressively supporting local efforts to upgrade container-handling infrastructure in Prince Rupert and increase intermodal capacity (Government of Canada 2006, 2012).9 In a region historically marked by the “boom and bust” cycles common to resource peripheries (Bradbury, 1987; Barnes et al., 2001), the Prince Rupert Port’s Fairview Terminal, North America’s first dedicated ship-to-rail container terminal, would be touted as a “transformational infrastructure” with the potential to transform the entire economic landscape (Vancouver Sun, January 14, 2005).   Many of the dynamics that have come to reshape the North Coast over the past decade – spatially-uneven globalization, technological dynamism, ascending Chinese hegemony – are explored in the work of Giovanni Arrighi, and in particular his Adam Smith in Beijing (2007). Brought to the North Coast, Arrighi’s book reveals capitalism's drive to innovate has produced not only new markets and new forms of state-making, but also waves of geographical restructuring provoking shifts in local experiences of time and space.10 For Jason Moore (2014: 6), the dynamism Arrighi observes is also a “way of organizing nature.” For Moore, capitalism is a “world ecology,” rich and variegated in its effects and characteristics. Moore invites us to                                                9 Canada developed the Asia Pacific Gateway Corridior Initaitive as first application of the more comprehensive National Policy Framework for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors (Transport Canada, 2009), specifically to align Canadian businesses into a competitive global economy. The ‘gateway strategy’ focuses on building and improving infrastructure specifically to enhance trade and support multimodal integration. Prince Rupert’s Fairview Terminal, explored in Chapter 4, is a key example of its implementation.  10 Another merit of Arrighi’s account for present purposes is the way his work embeds economic history in the politics of the international state-system. This reveals that expressions of hegemony, neo-colonial expansion, and state-capitalist alliance-making, contour formations of development in differently situated ways.    26  consider how logics driving Asia Pacific integration compel capital to reorganize human- and extra human natures in ways that are both material and ideological. The Enbridge Northern Gateway project (NGP) would stand for many in the North Coast as the par excellence example of development’s destructive potentiality (Klein, 2015). Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), would subsequently assume that mantle for many in the region (Hughes, 2015; Wood and Rossiter, 2016). As grounded Indigenous resistance to the Petronas LNG project at Lax U’u’la; to TransCanada at Madii Li; and to the Pacific Trails pipeline at the Unist’o’ten Camp collectively make clear, ‘extractivism’ has inspired considerable local resistance on the North Coast, even as broader reimaginings of capitalism’s socio-ecological orders remain nebulous.   Consistent with Arrighi’s model, the Canadian state has been an active player in North Coast development: combining regulatory rollbacks and legal attacks with the formation of policy frameworks aimed at intensifying oil and gas production and interrelated forms of “value added” activity. Insofar as resource development required another wave of neo-colonial accumulation by dispossession – including the construction of new infrastructure and the ‘disciplining’ of Indigenous territories and populations – these efforts would encounter numerous roadblocks – expressive of the “environmental conflict” thesis central to political ecology (Robbins, 2004).  Development thus brought renewed focus to the question of Aboriginal title, still unresolved in BC. Emboldened by the arrogant conduct of the parent company, vocal and highly-visible opposition to Enbridge by Indigenous peoples surged up and down the coast and beyond (Yinka Dene Alliance, 2010). A combination of “grounded authorities” on Indigenous Territories and court-room challenges in Vancouver and Ottawa quickly complicated resource dreams of unfettered access to Indigenous Territory (Pasternak and Dafnos, 2017). As proposed 27  projects encountered project delays, market ambiguities, and political frictions, local interest in the ‘project construction phase’ began to fade. This dissertation listens to the long echo created by LNG’s suddenly unlikely “resource boom,” finding that even as resource dreams vanish, they manifest ‘audible developments’ comprised of rich and unexpected audiopolitics.     On the North Coast, Indigenous engagements with industrial development articulate with a shifting array of non-Indigenous groupings, relations, and cultures (Wood and Rossiter, 2016). One example that forms the backdrop to Chapter 2 of this dissertation is the alliance between its Coastal First Nations and BC’s well-endowed conservation movement. The Great Bear Rainforest agreements (see: Dempsey, 2011; Page, 2014) – formulated during the same period the Asia Pacific Gateway Corridor was taking shape – were an effort to direct regional development in a more ecologically sustainable direction. Supported by the philanthropies (e.g. the Packard Foundation, the Vancouver Foundation), conservationists supporting the ‘GBR’ would reject Enbridge and the province’s characterization of LNG as a “clean fuel.” In their stead, conservationists would propose the North Coast as a different kind of development space, one more aligned to local First Nations interests while also being predisposed to eco-tourism, carbon offsets, and small-scale primary commodity production.11 Although the agreements further Indigenous stewardship efforts within their unceeded Traditional Territories, they play a dangerous dance with green capital. Emboldened by the construction of the GBR is the idea of the North Coast as a kind of Heideggerian bestand; a collection of natural assets encompassing                                                11 Not to be ignored in this context is the long association of the North Coast with logging, of which there are a number of useful studies (Wilson 1998; Braun 2002; Dempsey 2011). My study largely takes place after the collapse of the large-scale regional logging industry, which is why forestry plays a relatively small role here. 28  charismatic animals (in particular, whales and grizzly bears), and communing, communicating nature experiences (Kennedy, 1997; McAllister, 2001; Stainsby, 2010).    As the “politics of nature” around the GBR suggests, development on the North Coast is not easily sorted into mutually-opposing viewpoints. A significant percentage of North Coast residents would support regional development proposals.12 Biodiversity threats and community ideals must be weighed against economic security, family needs, and ‘realistic’ outcomes. In Kitimat, a plebiscite over the Enbridge project, easily the most unpopular of the proposed megaprojects in the region, was only very narrowly defeated (CBC News, 2014). LNG proposals, cynically deliberating on Enbridge’s failures to attain social license, made significant efforts to support local employment and assure minimal environmental risk. Were it not for Asian energy market shifts and the maturation of the industry in Australia, several North Coast LNG projects might already be in the midst of construction. In the North Coast, as elsewhere, life remains structured by what Postone (1993, 17) calls “abstract forms of domination” – the experience of capitalism in concentrate. In 2013, Christy Clark’s provincial government breathlessly claimed that a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export industry would raise a $100 billion “Prosperity Fund”, which would pay for increased services, tax cuts and/or reductions in the public debt. Just three years later, the combination a flooded North American market, low commodity prices in Asia, high transportation costs, and demands being satisfied with Russia and Australia suppliers conspired to make this vision untenable (Lee, 2016). Far more successful has been the rejuvenation of the Prince Rupert Port (PRPA). In 2016, the Port published a study                                                12 Commercial fishing and fish processing remain economic activities in the North Coast (Ommer 2007), but they are rapidly being displaced by pulp manufacturing, mining and mineral exploration, and transportation services (Government of British Columbia, 2013). For historical work on this subject, see also Menzies (2002). 29  projecting that its fully-realized development plan would generate almost 5,000 new jobs in northern British Columbia, with corresponding increases in wages and government tax revenues (Prince Rupert Port Authority, 2016). The Port has shrewdly pivoted in step with the election of liberal Prime Minster Justin Trudeau in 2015, and now likewise promising Canadians a “greener” version of development, characterized by an overhauled regulatory review process, and the restoration of trust with First Nations (Peyton and Franks, 2015).   The North Coast in the years I study is in something of an “interregnum,” to invoke Gramsci. It is caught in the time-space that separates an obsolete mode of social existence from its successor; between a fishing economy characterized by post-war liberalism and an unknowable future order. Times of interregnum are times of great uncertainty (Bauman, 2002). The notion gives added consequence to Helmreich’s (2015: xxii) claim that “soundings are not always easy to sort into echoes of the past, resonances in the present, or ‘pre-verberations’ from the future.” Sound partakes in realignments that are simultaneously institutional, socio-ecological, and perceptual. Audiopolitics may contain regressive as well as radically transformative propositions; they may invite or delimit involvement and participation. Determining how communities deal with changes is one reason we should study audio-politics. Routinely, audio-politics are intimations of a great many colliding social practices, natures, and histories.    Methods  Conducted between 2012-2015, this dissertation is multi-sited, and draws from multiple 30  methods, including interviews, analysis of policy documents and other written materials, and participant observation.  It is oriented around what Hart (2006) terms a “critical ethnographic” approach.  Through its conceptual focus on sound, it seeks to illuminate “power-laden processes of constitution, connection, and disconnection” between different social groups and social interests (Hart, 2006: 977).  It evaluates audio-politics in terms of “slippages, openings, contradictions, and possibilities for alliances” (ibid).  Oftentimes, these engagements do not take shape in a single location, but “rather through dislocations and transnational crossings” (Roy, 2010: 198). Chapters 1 and 2 develop a “multi-modal” ethnographies: tracing audiopolitics across various practices and textual engagements with sound technologies (Dicks et al., 2006). They are inspired by Clifford Geertz’s strategy of thick description, which privileges the analysis of “extremely small matters” in “homely contexts” (1973: 21). Chapters 3 and 4 explore audiopolitics at broader scales, focusing on commercializing sound technologies and global music cultures respectively.  While focused largely on written materials and audio documentations (e.g. CDs, tapes), I also use in-depth interviews to local understandings of the issues in question (e.g. ocean noise and black metal).    Because the dissertation draws on such a range of materials and approaches, I use individual chapters to gather and extend particular claims about methods. Some overarching themes can nevertheless be noted here:  Archival and Documentary Research   31   This dissertation gathers a suite of archival research, including materials from the Vancouver Aquarium (Vancouver, BC); BC Archives (Victoria, BC); Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC); the Prince Rupert Archives; the Museum of Northern British Columbia (Prince Rupert, BC); and the University of Washington Library (Seattle, WA). My search methods were loose, but generally I extended outwards geographically when materials could not be acquired (or appeared insufficient) in the holdings most proximate to my field-sites (e.g.  the Prince Rupert Archives and the Museum of Northern BC). Different search strategies (keyword, subject-area, associational) undertaken across different archives led me to government journals, newspaper clippings, policy documents, and regional science publications. I examined these for insight on a range of topics: the well-documented history of Indigenous music of the North Coast, the history of underwater acoustics research in the Canadian Navy, baseline reports about whale abundance in the North Coast region, etc.  Chapter 1 is buttressed by contemporary documentary materials pertaining to environmental policy (NGO and Government) in the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR): e.g. scholarly research, media reports (historical and contemporary).  Chapter 2 draws upon various contemporary policy documents: international noise standards documents, government regulatory frameworks, environmental assessments.  Chapter 3 and 4 utilize the least amount of secondary literatures, the primary sources here being interviews and online resources (on which, see below).        Participant Observation   Material gathered via participant observation is central basis for this study, and is rooted in approximately 21 months of field research conducted across three sites: Prince Rupert, Hartley 32  Bay, Dodge Cove – with additional time spent on Haida Gwaii, and in Prince George. Participation observations were differently calibrated owing to the study needs. Since 2013, I have worked with the Gitga’at First Nation as both a science technician and a newspaper editor. This privilege gave me new resources for making contacts on the North Coast, as well as opportunities for visiting different parts of the region. Although I did not use my Gitga’at connection to ‘advertise’ my dissertation research, it undoubtedly aided my efforts. More importantly, my relationship with Gitga’ata fosters a sense of responsibility to the people of the North Coast (including those I would study). I already have already discussed some research findings with residents of the region, and I expect to continue to do so in the coming years.         At Cetacea Lab (nine weeks total on Gil Island, plus several months in nearby Hartley Bay), I “listened to listening interns” to gain perspective on constructed notions of nature experience. In Prince Rupert (twelve months total) I observed informal conversation and developed extensive notes replete with observed remarks and behaviors.  In Hartley Bay (four months total), I developed a scientific year-long baseline eco-acoustics study (see: Appendix), and used the downtime to “hang out” (Spivak, 2005) and discuss music with village members.  As is often the case, the results of my observations were not pre-ordained, but routinely the result of serendipity, instinct, and repeat attempts – not to mention the generosity of new friends. Participant observations carries different challenges across the different sites I engage. By developing a participant observation approach focused on sound and listening, I believe I was able to consistently detect themes, practices, and registers of socially and affectively-borne feelings that would have otherwise been imperceptible.   33  Interviews   Ethnographic interviewing will constitute a principal type of qualitative research for this project.  Fielding (2009) notes that ethnographic interviews are normally conducted in unstructured, in-depth formats with people from a particular culture, or who share in particular experiences.  My approach fits within these conventions, and ks trained ultimately at understanding the formation of personal, collective, and community values, and specifically in contexts of listening, sound-making and responding to sounds. The exception is Chapter 4, where I pursue a more systematic interview approach in an effort to understand underwater acoustics and cetology. Combined, I conducted approximately 100 in-depth expert and non-expert interviews –  +/- 30 for Chapter 2; 25 for Chapter 3; 30 for Chapter 4; and 15 for Chapter 5.  Some of my interviews were recorded, but many were not. Several of the interview subjects – e.g. Janie Wray, Des Nobels, Spencer Greening – were approached for multiple conversations (which I have counted as single ongoing interviews).     Websites, Chat-rooms, and Creative Media   To engage the discursive aspects of audiopolitics, my research would rely heavily on analyses of online texts, as generated by scientists, experts, citizens, and music fans. These sites varied depending on the case study – but included chatrooms, response forms, blogs and emails (where consented to). Online ethnographic practices are not yet common in critical geographies of development, yet the evidence presented here suggests that they are increasingly central to life lived amidst a “generalised and heightened sense of expectancy of what has not yet come” 34  (Clough and Wise, 2011: 2;).   Intermittently throughout this project, I also sought to wed creative interventions with spatial theory – an approach that can articulated through the rubric of “experimental geography” (Paglen, 2009). The production of field-recordings of the Rupert port, compositional experiments, and familiarization with spectrograms (through the baseline project) aided my own critical reflections on noise politics. In Chapter 2, they additionally became part of an effort to develop processural, collaboration-based understandings of listening in place – whether through sound-walks or recording practices (Prior and Gallagher, 2013).  Overall, I did found only mixed success in these approaches: whereas my soundwalks produced insights, my noise-map generating efforts with Prince Rupert residents largely failed. The failures may simply be the case of accustoming myself to the novelty of the approaches, which often involve a set of complex social co-ordinations, such as getting large numbers of people together.  The Appendix provides an instance where I was perhaps most successful. Our collaboration-based eco-acoustics baseline was published in a science journal in 2016.    Dissertation Roadmap  Chapter 2    This chapter develops through an ethnography of a whale research station called Cetacea Lab. Established 2001, Cetacea Lab is a non-profit research organization located in the North Coast, also the Traditional Territory of the Gitga’at First Nation.  Their underwater environs play 35  host to migratory and resident fin, humpback, and killer whales involved in a series of social behaviors. In the period I survey (2012-2015), these whales and the Cetacea Lab project would be at the center of a nature spectacle generated by the collision of an environmental conservation project – the Great Near Rainforest (GBR) – and the proposed Northern Gateway Project (LeBillon and Vandecastyn, 2013).  My study attempts to account for the fraught position of “nature experience” as a central activity at Cetacea Lab, e.g. listening to whales. I apply Adorno’s ‘Culture Industry’ to conservationist efforts to recuperate “nature experience” from a generalized crisis – as declaimed by leading conservation authorities like Peter Karieva and Richard Louv. The “whale music” celebrated at Cetacea Lab is an ‘administered’ (e.g. managed and overseen) experience. From Adorno’s point of view, whale music is not simply an emblem of ecological enlightenment, but a sensuous artefact of the history of humanity’s domination of nature.   In Chapter 2, a study of listening to whales thus informs a general critique of dominant institutions (WWF, The Nature Conservancy) that model what Peter Dauvergne (2016: 1) calls “the environmentalism of the rich.” Mine is a polemical attempt to demonstrate that the “nature experience” offered by these institutions is devoid of any critical edge and should be rejected. This does not lead me to reject wholesale the nature experience of environmentalism. Alongside de-linking environmentalism from its prevailing institutional milieu, this chapter proposes a new environmental aesthetics for awakening the senses to new politics. To embrace modes of listening that might retain nature’s meaningfulness without the culture industry, I turn to Joanna Demers (2010). With her Adornian concept of “aesthetic listening,” Demers suggests embracing the cacophonous industrial sounds that feature with whale vocalizations across determinant 36  contexts. These less-scripted pursuits better acknowledge the content of contemporary marine-ecological conditions and restore agency to critical human faculties seeking to understand them.       Chapter 3  Chapter 3 is situated in the industrializing northern city of Prince Rupert, BC. Over the past two decades neoliberal capitalism has transformed this historically left-leaning town; and undone many of the collective gains achieved in the post-war period. Presently, it is aiding the conversion of Prince Rupert’s 24 ha Fairview Terminal into an intermodal container shipping zone; one that is binding the city to the accelerating and chaotic rhythms of economic globalization. For some residents, the “noise” of revving train engines became an unassailable herald of this unwanted future. Frustration over noise, which inspired a series of largely ineffectual noise abatement campaigns between 2007-2012, foreground deeper questions regarding neoliberalism’s “ambient order” in Prince Rupert.    Chapter 3 is an in-depth ethnography of the micro-practices of technical expertise, social engagement and spatial discipline surrounding noise abatement in Prince Rupert. The overarching hypothesis is that social conditions of reification, or the phantom objectivity social relations acquire under capitalism, are intensified through a neoliberal politics of noise mitigation. I bring Feenberg’s (2015: 490) insight that “practices establish a world within which reified objects appear” to the varied social practices comprising noise-abatement, including its sensuous dimensions. Following Lukács, a progressive politics of noise abatement must be wedded to the larger question of the left critical project, which in the present case means rejecting and not accepting neoliberal forms of social and 37  environmental regulation. But my various findings suggest noise abatement as the production of a withering audio-politics, characterized by bureaucratic disavowal and affective experiences of Left Melancholy, which work to construct Prince Rupert’s pastoral soundscape as the reified expression of the city’s past political will, one no longer capable of contesting its present problems.  Chapter 4  An audiopolitics of marine bio-acoustics, chapter 4 delivers a Gramsci-inspired critique of the modernizations of ocean noise regulation being wrought by science, state and politics. Scientific evidence suggests that rising levels of anthropogenic underwater sound (“ocean noise”) produced by industrial activities are causing a range of injuries to marine animals—in particular, whales. In the industrializing North Coast as in other parts of the world, ocean noise point towards ecological outcomes that are incompatible with sustainable marine development. This has forced development proponents into acknowledging ocean noise as a threat to marine economic activity. As I argue here, ocean noise has nevertheless done little to reduce shipping volumes (both real and projected) in the North Coast. Rather, a regional alliance of state and capital is exploiting ocean noise and the animals attached to its discourse as a set of opportunities linked to the commercialization of ocean science: new technologies, analysis software and public-private partnerships.    Gramsci was acutely interested in the dynamic and social nature of scientific research, and his writings affirm science’s powers and ambitions. The dramatic shift in what we know about the oceans bears out his belief in the transformative powers of human labor: what was for some a “silent world” (Cousteau, 1953), now resounds with sounds made audible by the human extension of listening through marine science. At the same time, Gramsci was keen to observe 38  how science participates in the process he called hegemony, or leadership (Thomas, 2009). In the contemporary moment of development, the ability to manage the content of new ecological issues has become an important site of hegemonic activity. In oceans around the world, capitalism is innovating by organizing work as a multispecies process (Chapter 2; see also: Haraway, 2008; Moore, 2014): instrumentalizing whales for the growth of new sensing technologies. This has consequence for managing dissent in places like the North Coast, where the socio-ecological consequences of increased shipping could be catastrophic.     Chapter 5   As Martinez-Alier (2003: viii) argues, “ecological conflicts are fought out in many languages.” One of these languages, Chapter 5 contends, is Indigenous black metal, a musical form practiced by thousands of Indigenous musicians around the world today. The chapter focuses on a little-known North Coast Indigenous black metal project called Gyibaaw (2006-2012). Founded by two teenagers from the Gitga’at First Nation, Gyibaaw mobilized contemporary music to ‘re-story’ the developing North Coast with the family legends and collective histories of Gitga’ata. Using Hall’s (2017) concepts of articulation and conjuncture, the chapter presents Gyibaaw as decolonial audiopolitics, and in so doing, insists upon the significance of ‘Indigenous black metal’ at a contemporary nexus of Indigenous resurgence, resource extractivism, and ascendant white ethno-nationalism. Against the discursive promises of development on the North Coast – progress, improvement, and prosperity – Gyibaaw pre-figured a political spirit of Indigenous resurgence; musically expressing lineages of refusal and decolonial ambition that have erupted from across Indigenous communities across Canada.  At 39  the same time, Gyibaaw’s music circulated in a conjunctural moment when complex identity politics linked to violent colonial practices had re-surfaced throughout North America.    In Chapter 5, I argue that Gyibaaw identifies a way of thinking audiopolitics at the nexus of Indigenous and settler musical discourse. Put otherwise, my interactions with the band taught me something about the way research itself is audiopolitical, inclusive of tensions involving the generosity of sharing and the need to keep silent. Through listening, I hope to model a particular relationship between Indigenous and settler epistemologies; one that can “acknowledge the limits of what we know” or even claim to know (Cameron 2015: 35). I develop this approach through interviews with the band, and also their friends, family members, and exponents of the worldwide black metal scene.    Chapter 6  The dissertation conclusion reviews the arguments made in the previous four chapters. Attempting a synthesis of their various findings and claims, it suggests two possible futures for the North Coast, as specifically organized around audiopolitics. The first vision pertains to ‘Smart Oceans,’ part of an emerging global governance paradigm rooted in data analytics and cabled observatories. Since 2014, the project architect, a quasi-public research initiative out of Victoria (BC) called Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), has established a range of “community observatories” on the North Coast, which it is using will facilitate the enrollment of “citizen sensors” into marine risk-mitigation efforts. While it is claimed that Smart Oceans will assist these actors in making “informed decisions about their coastal and marine resources” (ONC 40  Newsletter June 2017), I suggest that the transformation of coastal citizens into data-gathering nodes (“citizen sensor”), and the ocean into a new terrain of profit-making presages a new audiopolitics on the North Coast.  While it is clear that proliferating marine-environmental risks are serious threats to coastal livelihoods, it is unclear which actors benefit from these new risk monitoring schemes, and to what degree they endow local residents with meaningful forms of knowledge and decision-making.  The second future is linked to the project of decolonization I considered in Chapter 5. I briefly return to Denning (2015), and his remarkable claim that the gramophone music recorded in colonial ports in the 1920s was “a herald of decolonization” (136) – the material out of which the identities and ambitions of the decolonial movements of the 1950s and 1960s were forged. In effect, Denning is suggesting that the sonic objects I study– hydrophone recordings, sound-maps, heavy metal music – might be resources for future generations; that they matter for what they reveal about the North Coast tomorrow. Critical acts of sensory experimentalism are worth embarking upon, not only for present political struggles, but future struggles as well. Alongside a general de-linking from hegemonic and colonial institutions, they might well inspire new ways of “sensing changes” in the world, and acting on them too. 41  CHAPTER 2 -  NATURE/INDUSTRY: LISTENING TO WHALES AT CETACEA LAB                    Figure 2. 1 Listening at Cetacea Lab. Photo: Max Ritts (2012).  In the canon of critical theory, few portraits are less flattering than Theodore Adorno’s account of the “culture industry.” Writing with Max Horkheimer about modern life, Adorno proclaimed the culture industry “the most sensitive instrument of social control” (1973: 31). It represents the summed total of capitalist institutions, ideas, technologies and techniques that prevail upon modern life. Nothing escapes its grasp for long. Even the intimacies of individual feeling become dominated by what Bernstein (2001: 83), following Adorno, calls the “rationalization of reason;” the conversion of all life activities into instrumental market logics. Adorno’s position has been critiqued for its universal reach and pessimism; its notion that all social life is reducible to the “freedom to choose…what is always the same” (Adorno, 1991: 172). But as I will argue here, the culture industry retains a powerful purchase. I will argue in this chapter that many of Adorno’s ideas apply to the contemporary world of environmental conservation, aka the ‘nature industry’.   42   My claim rests on Adorno’s account of both the politics of listening and the use of technology. For Adorno, the expansion of the culture industry entails the curating and shaping of culture’s various practices including, most relevant for my purposes, listening.  Adorno’s “On the Regression of Listening” (1938) argues that mass culture musical products are politically conservative.  They obscure the possibility of transcendence by encouraging listeners to accept the administrative curation of their lives. The relentless production of musical works for mass consumption, buoyed by standardizing and aesthetically limiting technologies, further carry over into the operations of the wider culture industry. Here as well, organized sound – whether as music, filmic sound FX, or restaurant ambiance – “impress[es] [sic]… the same stamp on everything” (1991: xiv). Michael Bull (2004, 2010, 2013) has demonstrated that these same tendencies hold in contemporary iPod culture.  “Mobile freedoms” and limitless choice of iPod use confer liberty only at the expense of increasing social atomization and monopolistic control. In this chapter I want to make the same point about environmental conservation and its concomitant freedom to experience authentic nature.  The right of all to the ‘free’ gratification of the environment is leading to an increasingly administered social order, dominated by instrumental reason, with uncertain consequences for the world conservationists seek to protect.     This chapter explores the culture industry through an activity which has become celebrated by many conservationists on the North Coast: listening to whales. It is not an activity Adorno ever wrote about.  He died the year Songs of the Humpback Whale (1970), the Grammy award winning album that brought whale sounds to millions of North American ears, was released. Yet there is much in Adorno’s works – from the writing on the culture industry and the ‘domination’ of nature (1973), to the musings on superstition, astrology, and the fireworks 43  (1994; 1997), to his varied musicological studies (2002) – that suggest he would have found listening to whales fascinating and worthy of scrutiny.   To explore how Adorno’s ideas about the relation of music to the culture industry can be used to understand the relation of whale sounds to environmental conservation, it is necessary to delineate the character of environmental conservation.  There is a wealth of scholarship demonstrating how monopolistic, horizontally integrated, and profitable the world of environmental conservation has become (McAfee, 1999; Sullivan, 2011, 2015; Brockington, 2002; Igoe, 2013, 2017; Buscher et al., 2014, 2016; Fletcher, 2014, 2016 a,b). As McAfee (1999) famously observed, the act of “saving nature” now routinely depends on “selling it” to consumers. The celebrated conservation agreement on the North Coast, the Great Bear Rainforest’ (GBR), embodies this tightening articulation of conservation and market logics – its very existence depended on the successes of consumption based anti-forestry campaigns in the late 1990s (Page, 2014; The Sierra Club, 2016).13 For many conservationists, the experiences generated by the North Coast’s great abundance of whales – humpback, fin, and killer whales most of all – embody the logics by which nature in the GBR should be known and ordered.  Their acoustic displays are opportunities for personal gratification and opportunities through which to demonstrate the region’s ideologically-compelling assets. In the words of Darcy Dobbel, a conservationist with longstanding experience in the GBR, listening to whales is “a                                                13 Darcy Dobbel (02/04/13), an authority on environmental conservation in the North Coast, suggested to me that NGO interest in supporting Cetacea Lab elides with institutional efforts (across large conservation groups) to redefine conservation to include ‘human-use’ activities (e.g. tourism and recreation) that were previously excluded from mandates.  There is also the policy consensus at federal and provincial levels that economic growth and ecosystem health are mutually necessitating features in the administration of national parks and conservation areas. 44  reminder of why I do this work and a [way] for others to appreciate and support this work” (Darcy, Pers. Comm.).   A range of institutions (state, NGO and First Nations) are involved in the administration of the GBR (Dempsey, 2011). For my purposes, three stand out: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Save Our Seas, and the Nature Conservancy (TNC). These institutions, which command an international presence in the conservation world and hold endowments in the hundreds of millions (Dauvergne, 2016), present the GBR as an ecological treasure to millions of supporters; capturing and circulating it on films, songs, and scripted stories of heroism and commitment.14 They demonstrate the culture industry’s tendency towards monopolization, representing some of the only institutions with the funding capacity to study and support activities there, which they do in close coordination with philanthropic capital from Vancouver, Minnesota and the Bay Area (Stainsby 2010).15 The WWF, Save Our Seas, and TNC, are also each closely involved in the work of Cetacea Lab, a tiny whale research station on Gil Island, where conservationists from around the world gather to experience whales by listening on an extended network of underwater microphones, or hydrophones (WWF, 2013; TNC Canada, 2013; Save Our Seas, 2014).   In this chapter, I modify the culture industry thesis to present at Cetacea Lab something less totalizing than Adorno had intended. Rather than achieved effect, powerfully repeating itself                                                14 Some estimates suggest marine tourism in the GBR generates $104.3 million in revenues and provides 2,200 long term jobs (WWF, 2013). Many local jobs are staffed by members of local First Nations communities, including by members of the Gitga’at First Nation. As well as providing a crucial labor force for tourism in the GBR, many Indigenous communities also continue to oppose “eco-colonial” attempts to lock up their Traditional Territories into park tracts, as well as efforts to place conservation ahead of hunting and other traditional uses (see: Rossiter 2016).  15 Adorno’s notion that only a handful of institutions might serve as gatekeeper to the contents of ‘culture’ is affirmed by Brockington’s (2002) term for present-day privatized conservation practice: “Fortress Conservation.” 45  ad nauseum, the culture industry is here understood as a logic of pursuit, akin to the “apparatus of capture” Deleuze and Guattari (1987) use to characterize capitalism. Seen as such, the culture industry is about the actors and social forces pulling at Cetacea Lab and its interns; trying to absorb their social energies and trying to standardize their experiential outcomes.  It highlights the desired administration of an elusive but altogether crucial artefact: experience, or better yet, ‘nature experience.’ Nature experience is foremost an idea, deeply cherished in conservationist thought and environmentalism (Purdy, 2015: 281). At the same time, it has increasingly become exposed to the winds of commodification, with consequence to how environmentalism is understood, acted upon, and perceive (Buscher et al. 2014; Igoe 2013).   While not denying the complex social character of nature experience, to say nothing of how diverse subjects reflect upon and particularize its terms, it can nevertheless be demonstrated that conservation institutions are increasingly approaching nature experience as a presentable and manageable concept– an entity whose proselytizing capacities can channeled toward the success of their movement. Richard Louv, author of the bestselling Nature Deficit Disorder (2005), notes that people who identify as environmentalists almost always draw from a wellspring of transcendent experiences in the natural world. What is apparent to conservationists like Louv is that ‘nature experience,’ and not simply nature per se, is in crisis. The symptoms are there for all to see: declining attendance at National Parks; young people, unable to complete routine orienteering tasks; widely observed sensory processing difficulties (Louv, 2005, 2015; Auer and Blumberg, 2006).  Conservation is failing because humans are ‘‘increasingly disconnected from nature and as a result less likely to value nature” (Karieva, 2008: 2757). There is widespread discussion in conservation about how to rekindle nature experience (Zaradic et al., 2011; Arts et 46  al., 2015; Keller, 2015; Louv, 2015).16 For Fletcher (2016b: 3), the prevailing approach is to endow nature experience with instrumental purpose: to “inspire caring, which translates into commitment, which leads to action, which is assumed to be productive.” His insights appear well suited to Cetacea Lab, which receives volunteer interns from around the world every summer to study whales. “If you experience this place,” Cetacea Lab co-founder JW explains to viewers in a recent World Wildlife Fund (WWF) profile of Cetacea Lab, its buildings draped in mists and lush vegetation, “you will be driven to protect this place.”17  JW’s words resonate with Adorno’s. Here, the desire to generate laudable conservation work rests upon the ability to present a standardized experience, much as Adorno argues occurs in the culture industry. This presumed connection becomes more evident when we consider the political mechanisms and institutional contexts that shape Cetacea Lab – a task this chapter pursues through the study of listening. The listening focus has the additional benefit of revealing structuring tensions and contradictions, including those that involve JW’s ethical commitment to whales and their wellbeing. Whatever the intentions of individual cultural producers, the culture industry’s overarching tendency is toward a reduction in the richness of sensuous human experience. This is because the culture industry consumer (which in Cetacea Lab’s case include far-off online audiences) finds herself “hemmed in by standardized musical goods,” in which                                                16 Not only do heroic environmentalists eagerly write about nature experience (Roderburg and Monkman, 2016) and fundraisers tout the “experience” of ‘local’ actors in their improved conservation projects (Dosemagen, 2016), social media divisions, increasingly central to large NGOs (Igoe, 2017), now model it as a central ‘message’ in their online promotional videos (Fletcher, 2016a). Degree programs in Environmental Communication design programs around “principles to bridge environmental competencies with thoughtful communication through diverse media channels” (see for example the program offered at Fleming College, Ontario, Canada: 17 See: The video was uploaded onto YouTube in 2016. JW’s appeal is connected to the prospect of oil and gas development in the GBR.  For legions of photographers, documentary film-makers and celebrity campaigners, the GBR has become a repository for nature experiences that cannot be found anywhere else (Kennedy 1997; Joint Solutions Project 2000; McAllister 2001). 47  exceptions only prove the rule (Adorno, 1991: 30). Critical discernment is devalued in favor of more expedient forms of public recognition, and to ‘like’ a piece of music “is almost the same thing as to recognize it” (Adorno, 1991: 29). Meanwhile, experiences ill-suited to the culture industry’s constantly upgrading transmission networks begin to fade from social relevance, filtered out from public purview.18 An irrational, even zealous desire to acquire “authentic” experience remains ideologically encouraged, even culture industry consumers are rendered unable to make meaningful decisions between “the offerings where everything is so completely identical” (Adorno, 1991: 30).19  Despite its rhetorical excesses, the culture industry model contains truths about the culture of contemporary conservation. One aspect examined here partakes in the domain of sound technology, and the way the music/culture industry relation explored by Adorno is mirrored by the whale sound/environmental conservation industry relation at Cetacea Lab. Put otherwise, the impress of large environmental organizations can be discerned in the hydrophonically-mediated whale sounds that constitute Cetacea Lab’s principal site of proposed nature experience. These sounds, engaged as part of a mandate to quantify local abundances of                                                18 We might extend from Adorno and remark that a conservation culture instilling the same rules of production as other commodity producers contains dubious ecological benefits, insofar as it imposes the same logics of market choice and competition onto the administration of complex and differentiated natures. This is an idea Naomi Klein emphasizes in the latter half of her 2015 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. See also: Dempsey (2015) which explores the notion of an “enterprising nature.”    19 Karieva and others point to the seemingly unstoppable penetration of social media and communication technologies (e.g. Facebook, iPhones) into all life activities, activities which threaten the sensorial basis of nature experience. In this respect, they echo polemicists like Jonathan Crary (2013: 105), for whom “sensory impoverishment and the reduction of perception to habit and engineered response is the inevitable response of aligning oneself with the multifarious products, services, and “friends” that consumes, manages, and accumulates during waking life.” At the same time, and buoyed by the same forces, conservationists everywhere are massing their efforts into social media platforms – with Facebook “likes” used to determine “the top organizations committed to safeguarding species, habitat and the delicate balance of nature on our planet,” for instance (D’Estreis 2015). The ironic and unreflexive desire to recuperate nature experience through consumer technology is also explored in the work of Robert Fletcher (2016 a, b).   48  whales (NCCS, 2011), are much more than study materials. They are also complicated sites of environmentalist desire – expressive of what Adorno saw as the culture industry’s core “promise of happiness” (Adorno, 1970). In the GBR, whale sounds represent both a hoped-for relation with the natural world, and all that will be lost if proposals to convert the region into an industrial shipping superhighway succeed (e.g. Enbridge Northern Gateway, 2004).20 If not entirely determining of its content, listening is nevertheless closely interconnected with the pursuit of experience, and the ways in which socio-environmental relationships connect to institutional interests, activities, and scripts. To understand how nature experience is administered in the GBR, and to chart its politics and social consequences, we do well to attend to whale sounds, and study how they crystallize broader social and material relations.21   The chapter proceeds as an ethnographic study of listening and nature experience. Throughout, I use pseudonyms to protect the identities of my interview subjects. First, I discuss my research site and methods. Then, with Adorno as a guide and Cetacea Lab as a site, I unpack nature experience according to three frames that locate it within the contemporary conservation apparatus: technological mediations, environmental norms, and institutions. In the conclusion, I move to aesthetic theory. To find a way of listening that might pay homage to the value of nature experience without subscribing to its culture industry trappings, I turn to Joanna Demers (2010),                                                20 Up and down the West Coast, whale sounds and an aestheticized “whale music” have been celebrated as bearers of prefigurative environmental politics since at least the early 1970s (Weyler, 1986; Obee, 1992). I also explore this history in Ritts (2017b).   21 As Augoyard and Torgue (2005) argue, the relational act of listening provides unique purchase onto the elusive concept of ‘experience’; how the latter is made and reflected upon through the social and material organization of sound. In a paper version of this chapter, I account for listening’s significance to environmental conservation more broadly. At a time when the Nature Conservancy uses acoustic sensors to monitor the ecology of bats in Papua New Guinea (Hausheer, 2015); Cornell University’s “Elephant Listening Project” receives celebratory profiles in the New Yorker (2015); and the US Parks service runs a “soundscape” monitoring project (Miller, 2013), a study of conservation as listening is overdue. 49  who builds on Adorno. With her concept of “aesthetic listening,” Demers affirms the value of listening “through the noise,” and resisting the harmonies and false resolutions of curated nature. In the Great Bear Rainforest, this means embracing the cacophonous human environments whales (and whale sounds) now circulate within, instead of treating them as elements to be avoided. Such aesthetic engagements point to the possibility of truly different nature experiences, which might awaken the senses to new politics.     An Ethnography of Listening  As Douglas Keller notes, Adorno deployed a “hermeneutical method of deciphering cultural phenomena ranging from newspaper astrology columns to television programs to twelve tone music to the poems of Holderin” (2003: 16). To study how environmentalists listen to whales is in keeping with his micrological approach, which asserts ‘the particular’ as a concentration of a broad social totality. This paper is an “ethnography of listening;” an in-depth locational study premised on the conviction that “auditory acuity… is central to everyday lived experiences” (Feld and Brenneis, 2004: 2). Through my time at Cetacea Lab, I listen and study the ways in which the experiential act of listening is modeled and performed. I stress the numerous ways that listening is interconnected and interrelated with the pursuit of experience. Through acts of listening to whales, we can understand how socio-environmental relationships become tethered to powerful institutional interests, activities, and scripts.  My case-study is Cetacea Lab, a whale research station and non-profit where I worked as an intern and ethnographer for 11 weeks across four summers (2012-2015). Cetacea Lab, on the 50  unceeded Territory of the Gitga’at First Nation, was founded by GM and JW in 2001, for the study of Northern Resident Killer Whales (NRKW) and Transient killer whales. Cetacea Lab’s status in the conservation movement was dramatically elevated in the mid 2000s, when regional prospects for industrial shipping – most notably the Enbridge Northern Gateway (NGP) – became widely known. Since this time, visiting interns, eco-tourists, documentary film-makers, politicians and celebrities have made the Lab a recognized stopping point on GBR eco-tours, and something to feature in blogs, photo-essays and tourist brochures. “Everyone who comes here can expect to have an experience,” JW tells each new batch of interns – including the one I arrived with, in summer 2012 (JW, Pers. Comm.).  And the interns are prepared for this, bringing accreditation forms, cameras, blogs, and even clothing sponsorships along with their desire for nature experiences.  For these visitors, Cetacea Lab is about more than conservation research. Fundamentally, it about visiting “a place to reconnect with nature” (Missy, Pers. Comm.).22 Whale research is undoubtedly the centerpiece activity at Cetacea Lab, but the Lab’s funding structures, media coverage, setting, and social networks suggest the presence of a vast environmental apparatus. To be an intern at Cetacea Lab, which hundreds of young people have vied to do since the Lab inaugurated the intern program in 2011 (JW, Pers. Comm.), is to pursue nature experience at a globally recognized ‘hot spot’ of conservation activity (Page, 2014). It is to wait in expectation of an experience, to assume a pose that says: in listening here, I am getting closer to nature.                                                  22 Unless otherwise listed (e.g. on blogs and newspaper reportage), full intern names, and the dates of particular exchanges are not included here, to preserve anonymity.  51  I first arrived at Cetacea Lab with the intention to contribute to scholarship on “multispecies ethnography,” focusing on sonically-mediated interactions between humans and whales. “Multispecies ethnography” posits that a “a multitude of organisms’ livelihoods shape and are shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces” (Kirskey and Helmreich, 2010: 545; see also: Haraway, 2007). Kosek (2010), for example, makes observations about the sensory lives of honeybees he studies while also situating them culturally. He shows how bee life is transformed as bees become both physically and metaphorically part of a military industrial complex, their sensory aptitudes put to a range of tactical military uses.23   My project shifted when I commenced fieldwork. At Cetacea Lab, actual whale encounters (technologically mediated or not) constitute a fairly small portion of daily activity. Most of the intern’s time is spent on shift, in a pose marked by purpose and anticipation.  In private auditory bubbles created by hydrophones and headphones, interns rarely encounter whales. They wait, silently, as waves of underwater crackle and hiss wash over them, and they live in the rhythms of gratifications to come.  I came to recognize in these poses the “identity work” of an environmentalist subjectivity (DeNora, 2000). They were about scripted expectations, as well as the routinely unquestioned prominence of communications technologies in our encounters with nature. The question of nature experience shifted to the foreground of my project: What makes hydrophonic sound a compelling way to connect to nature, as it is routinely                                                23 I am not dismissing multispecies approaches to the study of whale-human relations. Such approaches approach whales as containing greater capacities for political agency than the present accounts can offer. This can lead to valuable insights. My chosen uptake extends from the conviction that ideological and institutional power structures bear more centrally on Cetacea Lab and its political engagements with whales than do the explicitly interspecies aspects of performative activities. In this regard, I am inspired by Donna Haraway’s Primate Visions (1989), which remains the singular work of animal studies, in my estimation. A diversity of critical approaches recommends a world where a diversity of species is celebrated.  52  modeled to be in tales of whale research (Weyler, 1986; Nollman, 1987; Morton, 2002)? What separates ‘good’ nature experiences from ‘bad’ ones? Ahmed’s (2000: 52) definition of the ethnographer as a stranger striving to ‘‘get closer to the object, in order to gain more knowledge” seemed to apply directly to the interns I interacted with, mostly white twenty-somethings who came from across Europe and North America to listen to strident and atonal animal sounds.     To study listening at Cetacea Lab is not to propose listening as the only way to study nature experience.  Rather, and following Adorno, it is to investigate how understandings of the world are regulated through a sensory modality routinely articulated with ‘intimate’ and ‘spiritual’ characteristics (Sterne, 2003), and thus well-disposed to conveying nature experience (see for examples: Thoreau, 1854; Schafer, 1994). In this chapter, I listen to both whales and whale-listening interns to examine dominant modes of environmentalist experience: what they articulate, accentuate, and why this is.  I must also implicate myself in what is clearly a “zone of awkward engagement” (Tsing, 2005) – many of the practices I observe (and critique) in others were aspects of my own subjectivity at the station. Geographical uptakes of sound studies have largely eschewed ethnographic approaches, preferring discourse analyses, object analyses, and critical reflections on sound-art (Cameron and Rogalsky, 2007; Kanngieser, 2012; Revill, 2014; Gallagher, 2015. But see: Waitt, Ryan, and Farbotko, 2014). I will use ethnography to think about the complexity of listening as a social act, and through that, the complexity of the experiences listening produces (Bijsterveld, 2017).   53   The culture industry concept demands that we interrogate Cetacea Lab’s self-presentation as a “non-profit” operation pursuing essentially independent research.24 Real institutional changes have transformed the Lab over the course of its existence, and these changes resonate with broader developments in the Great Bear Rainforest. The point of the critical perspective I adopt here is not to oppose the resulting nature experience.25 As Bernstein (1991) explains of Adorno, “it is important to keep firmly in mind the thought that he is not attempting an objective, sociological analysis of the phenomena in question. Rather, the question of the culture industry is raised from the perspective of its relation to the possibilities for social transformation. The culture industry is to be understood from the perspective of its potentialities for promoting or blocking ‘integral freedom’” (Bernstein 1991: 2). It is for the possibility of one mode of transformation, rooted in the galvanizing social powers of nature experience, that many conservationists, including Cetacea Lab’s GM and JW, struggle. In the next section, I show how technology serves as a means by which the culture industry extends the desire for nature experience and administers the realization of experience as well.    Technologies: The Background Hum   At Cetacea Lab, nature experience relies on technology. It is an acculturated trust in the hydrophone that allows a set of incoming electronic sounds to obtain the appearance of nature experience.1 Interns working at Cetacea Lab listen for whales, and as long as they do this, they                                                24 The “non-profit” designation is one of the first things you see on the Cetacea Lab website:  25 This chapter brackets Adorno’s complex thoughts on nature to deal more specifically with the construct ‘nature experience,’ as extended by environmental conservation. For work on Adorno and nature, see especially, Cook (2011) and Jay (2016). 54  do so through hydrophones.  Interns present one variant of Adorno’s idea that mass cultural listening “attaches itself to technology” (2002). For him, that which we recognize as contemporary popular music (e.g. rock and roll), is not possible without the portable radio, which prioritizes recognition and repetitive phrasing over the nuanced sonic forms of “serious music” (for Adorno, the classical avant-garde). At Cetacea Lab, the ways we listen are likewise dependent on logics of repetition. Our utopian desires for nature experience are guided and supported by our listening technologies – hydrophones, speakers, transmitters – which collectively set restrictions on what we can and cannot listen to. The possibility of nature experience is not only extended by technology, it is controlled and contained by it too.  One of the first things you hear when you arrive at the Lab are the tinny sounds of outdoor speakers, which are placed along its main pathway toward the secondary building. Listening for whales at Cetacea Lab is premised on the affordance of hydrophones, which intercept underwater soundwaves and convert them (or ‘transduce’ them) into voltage for airborne broadcasting (Helmreich, 2015).26 Much of the southern tip of Gil Island is exposed to the broadcast of Cetacea Lab’s hydrophone feeds for a very basic reason: without them, we wouldn’t know when to run to the interior datalogger to press ‘record.’ Area-saturating hydrophone speakers thus spatially extend the possibility of human-whale encounters, and submit them to regulated conditions of “ubiquitous listening” (Kassabian, 2013). “Every morning we are up at 6am,” writes one intern, for a WWF blog post about Cetacea Lab (Speer, 2012). “The day continues until 10pm, each of us taking shifts alternating between the scans and                                                26 When I visited in 2012 and 2013, Cetacea Lab ran a network of five hydrophone stations. Each one captures the sounds of nearby underwater environments (upwards of several miles, depending on conditions), transmitting them through radio back to the Lab’s central mixing board on Gil Island.   55  working on data entry and identifying whales. Along with this, 24 hours a day we are listening to the four different hydrophones in the area for humpback whales and orca calls, and recording whenever we hear a call.”  At Cetacea Lab, the hydrophone is a crucial mediator of nature experience. It intervenes in the parameters of our desired listening experiences, to such an extent that we became accustomed to a sense of immediacy regarding “what it is like out there” (Lilly, Pers. Comm.). But “what it is like out there” is in fact quite contingent. In summer of 2012, Cetacea Lab began replacing its analog hydrophones with digital ones. Compared to digital, analog hydrophones have a limited dynamic range, which means that we were “missing out on some what is going on out there” in the very low and very high frequencies where certain whales vocalize (JW, Pers. Comm.). The funding for these upgrades – which included additional hydrophones at Money Point, Ursula Channel, and Otter Pass (the red dots in figure 2.2) – came from WWF Canada, and had the additional benefit of including ‘calibrating’ – or internally articulating – all hydrophones to an industry standard. No longer would analog devices – which had been quite adequate for Cetacea Lab’s species abundance counts – present incommensurable magnitudes when compared against each other. With digital hydrophones, whale sounds recorded near Cetacea Lab could now be seamlessly compared to whale sounds recorded further down the coast, such as in the hydrophone network at Pacific Wild or the Salish Sea (Wray, 2014).27 They                                                27 An additional array was constructed – also with support of the WWF Canada – along Squally Channel in 2016 (see: figure 2). These hydrophones are equipped with GPS devices and acoustically monitors a terrain of about 200 km² in the principle area of proposed shipping routes near Gil Island. For material on hydrophones Pacific Wild, see: For hydrophones in the Salish Sea, see:     56  could also support WWF-sponsored research into ocean noise (Heise and Alidina 2012), the underwater din caused by cavitating boat propellers, which routinely interferes with whale behavior (Erbe et al., 2012). By 2014, Cetacea Lab would be recording and archiving hydrophone-sourced ocean noise for a growing population of researchers.  Even as interns’ listening practices remained affixed to whales – Janie Wray hated the sound of boats and cinematically compared ocean noise to a “great growing blackness” (JW, Pers. Comm.) – Cetacea Lab became tethered to growing institutional interests in other sounds (see: Chapter 4). When the noise ratcheted up, the interns turned the volume down, but kept recording.      Figure 2. 2 Cetacea Lab hydrophone network in 2011. On right, expanded network in 2015. Both images courtesy of Cetacea Lab.  57  The expansion of Cetacea Lab’s hydrophone network shown in Figure 2.2 (and ongoing as I write this in 2017) represents a powerful institutional foray into the ways natures should be audited in the GBR. The rearranging of its hydrophones at the behest of far-off funders and experts submitted local listeners to decisions about high priority development areas, high-fidelity sound quality, and logics of administration and control. Until quite recently, Cetacea Lab’s technical largesse was rarely emphasized in stories about its acoustically-mediated whale research.28 Rather, and continuing through the period of my ethnography, hydrophones were simply praised for the beautiful whale experiences they made possible (Weyler, 1986; Morton, 2002; Dobbel, 2016). Any discussion on listening to anthropogenic noise was also largely absent, unless as a foil to desired animal sound. This is unfortunate, since the ‘noise’ is in fact quite differentiated, with a host of whale-relevant information about boat size, speed; not to mention complex percussive and tonal variance (Urick, 1983).   My main point here is that the technologically sophisticated hydrophones Cetacea Lab began using were touted by JW and GM for presenting ‘improved’ nature experiences, yet their active relation to broader conservation interests was not broached.  In discussing listening to whales through hydrophones, interns sometimes considered the technological, but quickly moved to the whales and environments hydrophones purportedly revealed:                                                   28 In recent articles and presentations, GM and JW appear intent on presenting the details of Cetacea Lab’s hydrophone networks – perhaps owing to the scientific credibility and sophistication of their latest tools (e.g. Some cetologists I had interviewed had frowned at their use of analog tools, so there might be some desire to gain legitimacy as well. My ethnographic research ended in early 2015, when the Lab had yet to commence operation of its state-of-the-art array in Squally Channel, so the development is not directly relevant to the observations I gathered.   58   “I have this friend who is a very serious birder…He would know by hearing a particular birdcall that there had to be a wetland in a certain direction, or a clearing. We used to joke about him as having eyes that could fly, because he had a totally different sense of perception that wasn’t bound to a spatial grid that we typically rely on. We can’t see above the trees, but he could ‘see’ through his ears. And that is what it is like… listening to whales through the hydrophones” (Drake, Pers. Comm.).    “As soon as you hear it – the whale songs through the hydrophones – you knew you could hear this much larger area than you could actually see. And it was exciting to think about that; where they are and where they are going, and I want to get better at it” (Louise, Pers. Comm.).  Hydrophones not only shape the spatial dimensions of experience, they pattern as consequential temporalities of experience as well.  GM’s discussions of “whale time,” which he told me early on is “a big part of what makes Cetacea Lab what it is” capture this idea (GM, Pers. Comm.). “Whale time” is a modality of nature experience. It means that listeners should remain in a state of continuous anticipation for the simple reason that whales can be vocal at any time of the day. For Janie, this suggested the opening of an acoustic niche – “like the way a mother works away while reserving a particular set of frequencies for her child’s cry” (JW, Pers. Comm.).  We were helicopter parents for an underwater world, ready for the moment our gurgling hydrophones started squealing with whale song.     “I love it that they are on at night and that you can go to sleep listening to whales and wake up listening to whales. My mum used to put on whale noises when we were falling asleep. When 59  you sit out here and hear all of the birds and I definitely love other sounds just as much” (Bennett, Pers. Comm.).    “The [hydrophone] sounds give me and what's around me here a sort of rhythm. I feel like I am in rhythm with what’s out there, as an observer” (Missy, Pers. Comm.).  At the same time that its promise of nature experience was ever-present, Cetacea Lab’s techno-culture of nature experience participates in a regimented “training” that closely follows the conventions of interns’ non-Cetacea Lab lives (Adorno, 1991). We partitioned our days according to hourly schedules, with agreed-upon and often deeply-gendered distributions of labor (men clean less and drink more at whale research stations too, apparently). We had free time on weekends, and used Sundays to catch up on email. The interruptions to our routines were rare, but revealing of the degree to which a technological substratum guided our activities. A few times during my first week on Gil Island, I was startled awake by the jarring blast of a clipping speaker. “Clipping” is a technical expression for an overdriven amplifier that attempts to deliver output voltage exceeding its maximum capability. From an acoustics standpoint, clipping is an undesired event, but in my first summer there – before the shift to digital hydrophones –  GM and JW solicited it. At night, they would boost the gain on their speakers so that loud sounds would ‘max’ out and produce audible distortions. They did this to ensure that they didn’t miss whale detections during night-time periods when they might be sleeping – an expression of their remarkable personal commitments to whales. Clipping compromises precise acoustic measurement, but it suited the purposes of their efforts to determine presence/absence of whales. 60  Microseconds before a signal became clear, clipping routinely informed me that a humpback or a killer whale sound was on its way.    Some context is helpful for the point I want to make here. As Fletcher (2016b) points out, discussion of the contemporary crisis in nature experience, as discussed in the conservation movement, frequently contains an uncritical and contradictory relation to technology. Conservationists’ attempts to administer nature experience have effectively come to depend on the administration of more technology, through which the desired experience can be secured, quantified and controlled. When Heather Tallis (2015), an ecologist at The Nature Conservancy, sought to test the idea that students in classrooms with open windows do better on written tests, she relied on satellite data. The remotely imaged backyards of randomly-chosen California high-schools formed the basis of her claim that nature is ‘good’ for students. The proof of locally operating “nature experience” comes to depend on the provision of large abstract surveillance systems. In this way Tallis’ California high-school is not unlike Cetacea Lab, where ‘open windows’ onto nature and individualized tracking networks likewise depend upon ambivalent and largely unspoken relations to technology. Many interns I spoke to praised Cetacea Lab’s “rustic” qualities for the model of living they promised – something I would enthuse about in my correspondence as well. Explained one: “It's not really the whales, or whale encounters that I thought of as the experience here, its the living in remote places, camping for months and months on end, and looking after yourself, chopping wood, getting all the wood off of the beach” (Jim, Pers. Comm.). But these “rustic” worlds, which we documented on our cameras and iPhones, were at the same time understood as impractical exceptions.  They didn’t fit the realities of our academic schedules or ongoing job searches. Instead, they were presented to us as ‘experiences’, 61  whose termination guaranteed their status as something collectible; and whose documentation endowed them with the object-qualities necessary for circulating to others a later date. Technology use at Cetacea Lab models a key injunction of contemporary environmental culture: you will not ‘miss’ an experience should it be reproducible, or shareable on a media platform.    This isn’t to say all experiences are created accordingly. In each of the summers I spent on Gil Island, long periods of waiting under “Whale Time” led to some truly amazing encounters with vocalizing whales. A flurry of humpback whale sounds might appear over the speakers, and rapidly developing “phrases” would culminate into rich and complex “themes” (Payne and McVay, 1971). Or it might be a collection of killer whales, with an accelerating chorus of “shrieks” and “clicks” carrying the suggestion that a hunt was in process (Ford 2000). Each of these passages would be itemized, located, and time-stamped by the head-phoned listener, efforts GM and JW reviewed later on to ensure their scientific use-value. But the cherished ‘experiences’ were far more exciting to us. And when they did happen, and a sequence rang out for an extended period, all the humans present on the Gil Island would gather in the Lab, where the sound quality was best. These moments of collective listening were powerful and affirming. They modeled “the imagined core of our identities” – a shared environmentalist wonder and appreciation for nature (Leppert, 2005: 94).  We would later write and blog about these experiences. They were ways of making sense, of redeeming ‘experience’ from the aimless, accumulation of time:  62  “As I listened to A46 call on the hydrophone, I waited and waited for a response from a fellow A Clan member, but nothing resonated back. I whole-heartedly forgot that he was indeed, alone. I felt a momentary lapse of sadness, but then a sense of hope came over me” (JW, 2015).    Cetacea Lab is occasionally required to shut down its hydrophone network to make repairs.  After days of silent underwater murmur, punctuated by bursts of excitement, these sonic absences (they happened a few times across my four years of visits) felt like dramatic compressions of acoustic space. Our purposeful engagement with the surrounding environment suddenly shrunk to the boundaries of the Lab’s clapboard walls. The interns adjusted, but not before an eerie period of calm, described as a feeling “things had slowed down” (Sara, Pers. Comm.) or “felt empty” (Lilly, Pers. Comm.). Such experiences were akin to the anxiousness Bull (2005: 346) describes in the context of iPod culture, where users “creat[e] spaces of freedom for themselves through the very use of technologies that tie them to consumer culture …” From Adorno (2002), we might also understand them as withdrawals from the aggressive interventions of the conservation economy, whose leading institutions seemed determined to stuff the Lab with newer and newer scientific toys (hydrophones, cameras, DAT recorders, telescopes) across each of the summers I visited. In other words, the experiences were reminders that we were not as remote and isolated as we often thought ourselves to be. Writing about the radio, Adorno suggested “we define [the need for music] more by our displeasure in turning off [the radio] than by the pleasure we feel, however modestly, while it is playing” (1976: 15). This points to the other side of the community-elevating listening experience at Cetacea Lab: the sluggish, over-mediated listening state Michael Bull calls “aural toxicity” (2010).    63   At Cetacea Lab, audio technology shapes the hidden rules that structure nature experience, including the ways we acoustically engage spaces and communicate those engagements to others. Technological mediation, while doubtlessly enriching the anticipatory excitement of whales at some moments, provoked over-saturation at others.29  Adorno does not ‘blame’ technology for the reduced listening experiences characteristic of modernity. His issue is the degenerative nature of technology-dependent listening, and the way the culture industry obscures the workings of its technical operating systems. To delve further into this claim, and its consequences, we need to broaden the analysis from technological concerns. In the next section, I turn to environmentalist norms and identifications of place, and consider how they describe the preferred experiences of environmental conservation.      Norms of Whale Science   “I think there is a fine line between whale watching and whale research.”          - Pers. Comm. Linda 2013.  At Cetacea Lab, one is encouraged to revel in the power of listening to construct experience. Consider the marginalia one finds in the spread-sheets where interns report whale encounters. At the center of the pages, the documents manifest all the characteristics of scientific objectivity – encounters itemized in terms of time of date, location, species type, etc. And yet they are routinely punctuated with effusive description too: “Song practice! Beautiful” “...                                                29 These were also times when intern desires to reassert personal control over the sonic environment led to the use of more mediating listening technology, as when intern retreated to closed tents to enjoy music on iPhones and iPods (“It lets me step out of things for a little while,” one intern noted).  I have little data, other than personal field-notes, from which to consider how interns negotiated demands for fully private listening experiences. Tellingly, we rarely deliberated on the antisocial aspects of technological listening in any collective way.   64  Singing—amazing echoes!!!” “Clear, resonant. Wow!!” A tension between observation-based animal science and affirmative nature experience runs through everything the Lab does.  GM and JW hold science to be Cetacea Lab’s central preoccupation and product. While neither is an accredited scientist, they have recorded and archived over three thousand hours of hydrophone activity since establishing Cetacea Lab in 2001 (NCCS Evidence, Pt. 1-3, 2011). At the same time, they encourage a disposition that locates science pursuit within a more affectively engaging environmentalism. The vast majority of Cetacea Lab’s interns come from non-cetology backgrounds, and many would readily admit to anxieties about completing their tasks with accuracy and judiciousness. Also recognizing this, Cetacea Lab’s two founders would routinely listen alongside, offering corrections, focusing strategies (e.g. “Its like keeping a part of your brain always open on one frequency, like a mother listening for her child”), and enthusiastic encouragement. The disposition draws from the deep commitments the Lab’s founders hold to a particular tradition of cetology that first took shape in BC in the 1970s.30 In this tradition, which has historically drawn more support from philanthropists and art councils than government science departments (Ritts, 2017a), the life of the whale researcher – not just the dramatic setting – is a kind of environmentalist ideal (Obee, 1992). At Cetacea Lab, I consistently encountered the idea that science, done properly, is a prefigurative environmentalism, a way of pursuing a desired relation to nature.   In this section, I consider how supervisory ethical norms worked to model Cetacea Lab                                                30 In the BC Lower Mainland in the 1970s, a number of influential cetologists became convinced of whales’ complex emotional capacities, drawing evidence from listening to support this claim. Bolstered by a growing environmental ferment, they championed whale “music” as scientifically legitimate inquiry (Weyler 2004; Ritts 2017b).   65  interns as willing environmentalists. I again look to Adorno, whose hatred of conformity provides a stunning, if slightly polemicized, rebuke to liberal environmental values. For Adorno, the central injunction of the culture industry is: “you shall conform, without instruction as to what; conform to that which exists anyway, and to that which everyone thinks anyway as a reflex of its power and omnipresence” (Adorno, 1991: 90).  To conform, it is necessary to have a consensus ideal of what it is worth conforming to. It isn’t necessary to indulge in Adorno’s pessimism to recognize that environmental conservation manifests a depressing “same-ness” in the caste of celebrity ‘gurus’ it uses to model its environmentalism. During the years I visited Cetacea Lab: a number of celebrities paid visit to the GBR – including Joseph Boyden, Andrew Ference (a hockey player), Steven Galloway, and Prince William – and lent their voices to the chorus of calls the protect the area. Together, they point to a surprising structural shift in the institutional operation of environmental conservation: “Increasing numbers of NGOs (75 percent of the largest thirty in the UK, according to a BBC report) now have dedicated celebrity liaison officers whose job it is to manage relations with high-profile personalities,” reports Dan Brockington (2011: 112). White, male, and athletic in appearance, such ‘conservation celebrities’ model impassioned, dedicated, and heroic poses meant to inspire confidence in the conservation mission. If not actively encouraged at Cetacea Lab, the regular appearance of such figures – in newspapers, social media, or disembarking from nearby boats for day-visits and photo-ops (this happened at least four times in my first summer) were nevertheless reminders of the environmental ideals we were to aspire to, with consequence to our forms of conduct and behavior.         As GM and JW model it, emotional connectedness to whales – emblematic of an authentic 66  nature encounter – is not about conformity at all. It is about freedom, and the ability to open oneself to the wideness of sensuous nature experience. Across my visits to Cetacea Lab, first as an intern and later as a visitor,31 I regularly encountered interns demonstrating a sense of moved-ness in the reception of whale sounds:     “So epic. It was blissful. I think that is the only thing you can say. It was a humpback singing, and it was just so nice and peaceful and something that I knew that money can't buy at all” (Missy, Pers. Comm.).    “Wow. Just wow. You realize how little you know and how much mystery there is in this world” (Louise, Pers. Comm.).  The monolingual terminology, hinted at in these responses, is what interests me here. Similar descriptions can be found elsewhere at Cetacea Lab, for instance on the pages of its blog (, where interns routinely describe “authentic” and “beautiful” whale encounters, as well as in documentation about Cetacea Lab (e.g. Save Our Seas, 2014). They are also there in the Cetacea Lab guest-book, where its many visitors leave comments (there were at least ten discreet visits in the first summer I spent there).  The standard responses are not only indications of enjoyable nature experiences, they are also testaments to the “cumulative success” of shared subjectivizing processes (Adorno, 1991: 36).                                                 31 By 2014, I was working with the Gitga’at First Nation on both an acoustic baseline project and the community newsletter, the Gitga’at Guardian (now called Amhaw Gitga’at). I would show up at the Lab with Gitga’ata like Nicole Robinson and Archie Dundas, and conduct interviews with interns from a different social vantage than when I was an intern. It is a testament to the generosity of GM and JW that they have continued to invite me to visit Cetacea Lab years after the termination of my internship. 67   Cetacea Lab’s interns are not dupes, brainwashed to think in the same way. The issue, rather, lies in the way each of us felt encouraged to circulate our experiences within particular idioms and formats. In the context of the culture industry, “anyone who does not conform is condemned to... the intellectual powerlessness of the eccentric loner” (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1973: 50). By my third summer visiting, the routine “discovery” of the visiting intern seemed no longer worthy of note. I wondered how GM and JW – who doubtlessly were moved by whales – continued to deal with such scripted performances. At one point, I told GW about an underappreciated classic by the Bay Area punk band, The Fleshapoids:  They get all their meals for free Sponging off from you and me Let's bomb the slime right off their scales Nuke, nuke, nuke the whales Nuke the whales Nuke the whales Drop the big one on their tails Nuke the whales - “Nuke the Whales” (1979)  Beneath my cynicism and crankiness is a more legitimate concern, about the normative model of nature; its “capture” of diverse, sensory, experiences. For conservationists and their supporters at Cetacea Lab, only certain experiences are worth communicating as representative 68  of environmentalism; the kind that are ‘fun’ and make people ‘happy’.32 By projecting a joyful acquisition of nature experience, and showing others we “got it”, interns can present themselves as “subjects of wilderness,” people with the capacity to draw meaning from our natural surroundings (Kosek, 2006). Such behaviors are not exceptional to Cetacea Lab, but part of the routine social pressure of working in spectacular tract of the coast and saving nature from industrial apocalypse.   At Cetacea Lab, the joyous experiences interns pursued, and celebrity conservationists encouraged, pushed up against more serious listening models. As a means of scientific cetacean study, Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) proposes sound as an institutionally valid medium of data collection – something can be collected, parsed, and analyzed consistently (Zimmer 2010) – and an ethically minded rejection of tagging, suction cups, and animal captivity. For Cetacea Lab’s founders, PAM is part of an animal rights ethic rooted in non-invasive research -- a testament to “our commitment to whales” as Janie explained it to me (JW, Pers. Comm.). Some of the first popularizes of the method – such as Paul Spong – consciously associated it with a ‘wild’ whale research paradigm that rejected captivity as a form of ontological violence (Weyler, 1986). As a “prefigurative politics” (Epstein, 1991), PAM allows researchers to respect whales’ spatial needs and the sanctity of nature more broadly (Morton, 2002). As one intern explained,                                                32 GM and JW, despite years of exposure to whale sounds, routinely modeled a sense of thrill and excitement when recalling their listening experiences. For instance, GM: “When we came up here in 2001, one of the first group of whales we saw while we were here was our favourite group, the A-36’s. They have this one call that is very soft and long, almost just one straight call. They call it an N5. When the A36s make this call there is something really beautiful about that call. I can’t tell you how powerful it is to me” (Meuter, Pers Comm.). And JW: “One whale will start up, maybe with just a simple up and down: ‘dii doo, dii doo’; then ‘dii doo-DIP, dii-doo DIP, dii doo-DIP diidoo.’ He’s just playing around, changing one bit or another. Then another whale will pipe in. That whale will maybe just add a ‘woop,’ but the timing will be like ‘diiwoop DIPdiidoo… Two or three whales will do this together. Like musicians jamming, it’s all kind of random and then suddenly, it’s a song!” (from Dobbel 2015).      69  listening to whales must be about “listening better, and with more awareness of how whales might listen” (Linda. Pers. Comm.):    “I think I have learned that when you think of studying whales and dolphins you think of being really close to them, or in the water with them, but I think the most important thing to have here is a distanced connection. How you can know so much about their communication, but by observing from afar because we have such a huge impact on them.”  The acculturated struggle between listening for pleasurable experience and listening to model a kind of ethical research praxis is not announced as such. While it forms an epistemological tension underlying Cetacea Lab, pointing to conflicting institutional demands, it is also clear that a balancing between the two can be pursued, if never fully attained. Several conversations I conducted were suggestive in this regard:   “It can be so hard to know how to ID the killer whales sometimes because the calls can seem so similar. Like the R clan and G clan. I didn’t know at first how to distinguish those at all and I was really terrified! I would ask [GM and JW] each time. Eventually I got to the point where I was able to do it without their help, and I felt much more confident whenever I heard a call – and so happy!” (Sara, Pers. Comm.).  “I wasn't constantly listening. I definitely found it hard in the beginning. You hear something in the headphone, and wouldn't know what it was. Or you wouldn’t hear something on the 70  headphones, and [GM] would come running in and ask, “did you hear that?!” It's really hard to prepare for that…. But I'm a very dedicated worker.” (Edwin, Pers. Comm.).   “This was the first time I have heard feeding calls. I've been diving before, in Hawaii, and heard mating calls, which are amazing. You know, the long songs, it is actually mind blowing. The sound vibrates your whole body and in your head. You feel intrusive [sic] almost. So it's been nice to sit in the Lab and hear more casual communication between then. It helps you understand that what we see on the surface is nothing, we know nothing about how they live down under the water.” (Linda, Pers. Comm.).    These statements suggest a thoughtful processing of nuanced sensory explorations. They also hold evidence of persisting administrative logics – given in the “happy” and “mind blowing” experiences – given in the way whale research is supposed to be fun. The latter points to the structural demands of the conservation model Cetacea Lab had adopted. Insofar as they employed interns and accepted philanthropic grants – not to mention the media requests which accelerated in the context of Enbridge –  GM and JW were pressured to facilitate joyful nature experience. But they also had personal and political commitments to conservation science. These divergent solicitations are highlighted in the ambiguous position of the Cetacea Lab intern, which cannot always shift between the two as the internship demands. This was brought home for me in one incident in 2012, involving Freida and Klaus, two interns from central Europe. Educated, athletic, and in their mid 20s, Freida and Klaus arrived on Gil Island armed with Arcteryx gear and foldable kayaks. It was evident they had done research about the region’s adventure offerings. Before long, both were regaling the room with details of the various 71  adventures they would embark upon once their time at Cetacea Lab was over.  During one rainy week, we didn’t hear a single whale. Held indoors by the weather, and with GM and JW away on an overnight excursion, the mood in the Lab grew listless. Tired of the empty hydrophone hiss, Freida and Klaus announced they were going kayaking. They needed “an adventure,” and in defiance of GM and JW rule to ask permission, they took their kayaks to an area of deep cultural significance to the Gitga’ata peoples whose lands we were occupying.  The next morning, they were asked to pack their bags.33   This transgression would not be repeated by any of the future Cetacea Lab interns I would encounter, but it remains illustrative. FS and KM did not conform to Cetacea Lab’s requirements. But they did confirm to the larger logics of nature experience publicized and circulated in conservation industry. Above all, their avowed need to collect a nature experience echoes with what is promised to so many visitors in the GBR (Kennedy, 1997; McAllister, 2001; Page, 2014). Like the documentary film-makers, videographers, academics, and politicians who arrive on seaplanes and pleasure crafts, FS and KM were on “quests for career and personal development” (Devereux, 2008: 358). They wanted something to talk about later on, perhaps as a benchmark for an acquired ability or new skill. Such environmentalism routinely ignores the systems of privilege it moves across. The expectations Gitga’ata hold to visitors in their Territory – expectations GM and JW have consistently sought to respect – require adjustments to the                                                33 When I began this fieldwork in 2012, news of several recent failures to respect Indigenous traditions were circulating up and down the Coast. Perhaps the best example involves the Joint Review Panel’s egregious handling of its first Review session, held in Kitimat on the Haisla First Nations territory, for the Enbridge Northern Gateway. In those important opening sessions, the JRP invited the Heiltsuk First Nation (from Bella Bella) to open the ceremony and address the Panel—not the host Haisla Nation, as has been customary for hundreds of years. Recognizing the inappropriateness of the move, the Heiltsuk turned over the meeting to the Haisla hosts, who scolded the Panel for failing to respect protocol.   72  particular and the local. But not every environmentalist, tuned to a broad normative goal of environmental experience, is able or even willing to adjust as such. 34       There was another dimension to these tensions. The Enbridge decision in 2010 to go public with its Northern Gateway Project (NGP) greatly elevated the GBR’s status as a stage for the “performance” of conservation spectacle (Tsing 2004). For certain environmental groups working in the area, Enbridge demanded that entrenched cultural beliefs about the place of nature in BC be rendered into materials for a competitive staging. As LeBillon and Vandecastyn (2013: 48) note, “the pre-emptive cutting of the future Northern Gateway pipelines,” is to operate from “the leverage of British Columbia’s environmental credentials as a place of “wilderness.” Many of interns not only knew about BC’s wilderness reputation, they took active pride in associating themselves with it: “BC is the most beautiful place in the world and we [at Cetacea Lab] can remind people of that fact everyday” (Missy, Pers. Comm.). We came not only as experience seekers, but eco-crusaders too. Our documentations of whale sounds could aid in the conservation project, not just through science, but in vital materials for films and media coverage. At times, there was a palpable hype, or affective pulse, to the very idea that we were listening in the GBR, the storm-center of huge cultural forces. To consider these is to regard more clearly the vast institutional network that surrounds Cetacea Lab and the GBR. Particular nature experiences are solicited by particular institutions, with consequence to the politics of acoustic conservation acts.                                                   34 By the time I had arrived in 2012, a number of partnerships and data-sharing agreements developed between Cetacea Lab and the Gitga’at. The voice of a Gitga’at Guardian calling in to report a whale on the CB Radio was common during each of my summer visits (cf. Ashe, Wray and Picard 2013). Indigenous black metal sadly was not. 73  Institutions and Whale Spectacle  - “Managing wildlife is like managing people. It’s a popularity contest.”                                            - Ingrid, Cetacea Lab funding officer, to the author, 2013.   The culture industry thesis is centrally concerned with the mediation of cultural institutions. ‘Culture’ does not pass freely from hand to hand, i.e. through the altruistic gestures of human intercourse. It is controlled, coordinated, and distributed at the behest of particular institutions, with particular objectives and ideas. Thus, as John Mowitt (1992: 217) explains, that which enables anything to “make sense” to us – a sound, a memory thus “reaches well into the institutional field.” At Cetacea Lab, large institutional actors routinely influence activities in ways that are both direct and indirect. Environmental organizations encourage the disposition I noted in the previous section, featuring cheery blog-posts from Cetacea Lab interns, and providing tools to support the documentation efforts (Section 1; for examples of blog posts, see: Sierra Club 2010; Speer, 2012; Wray, 2014, 2015; Sam Rose Phillips 2016). Lifestyle brands like REI, MEC and ArcTeryx work more indirectly, offering GBR adventurers discounts on clothes if they showcase them in the lush rainforest. Several days before my first summer at Cetacea Lab, an MTV film-crew arrived to film scenes for Pipeline Wars (2012), a documentary about the regional conflicts.35 At one point the filmmakers asked a pair of interns to play some whale sounds that had recently been recorded. This exchange appears midway through the film. “Just by hearing them,” an intern (Bennett) explains, “we can isolate that sound down to five or six individuals.”36 The file is played. Registering visible shock, the MTV reporter turns to the                                                35 Intern performances as whale conservationists appear in a range of documentary-film projects that appeared in the wake of the Enbridge conflict too: Stand Up For Great Bear (2011); The Pipedreams Project (2011); Spoil (2012); Tipping Barrels (2012); Groundswell (2012).   36 See:  74  camera and exclaims, “that sounds like a David Guetta [a pop musician] soundtrack!”   In this example, whale sound crystallizes the social and material relations involved in the contemporary production of the GBR. It contains whales, ideas, technologies of storage and reproduction, and the energy and hype of conservation spectacle. It also represents the scripting of a certain kind of behavior at Cetacea Lab, and not necessarily one that GM and JW desired. My field-notes note several instances where an intern pulled away from shift work by a visitor, a listening experience is requested (live or recorded), and a “wowed” response ensues. For outside viewers, the Pipeline Wars example makes plain the fact that nature experiences are happening at places like Cetacea Lab, and that they happen through rich aesthetic engagements. Moreover, it presents the act of listening to whales with a clarity and affective force that does little to acknowledge the complexities of the content itself (David Guetta does not sound like whale music).37 Pipeline Wars is part of a broader effort to standardize nature experience. But it crucially affirms that the culture industry is not just an abstract apparatus producing standardized representations from far-off control rooms. The ‘industry’ itself is a complex of material and ideological forms; leading neo-colonial incursions into ‘pristine’ nature spaces where environmentalist acts can be resourced and rationalized. Cetacea Lab’s interns work as interns of the culture industry, and so do a host of other actors who visit the GBR and call it home.     For Adorno and Horkheimer, large and centralized media and entertainment corporations designated the institutional structure necessarily for subjugating the individual to the control of                                                37 See:;   75  the culture industry. In the present time and context, this structure has shifted, such that more flexible institutional forms, characterized by short-term contracts and funding provisions have emerged. Large conservation monopolies now work alongside micro-enterprises composed of “self-employed” entrepreneurs trained in environmental communications and media consulting (e.g. Fletcher, 2016b; Sullivan, 2016). Internships are rampant. Nature experiences follow on these economic logics: moments constantly tracked, collected, and edited into presentation formats. This is an idea well-displayed in the WWF videographer who happened to be on hand when Cetacea Lab personnel heard the distressed calls of a beached killer whale in July 2015. The resulting filmed rescue – cut from 9 hrs. to several minutes – became a media sensation (e.g. The Globe and Mail, 2015).  As operators of the culture industry, conservation institutions are powerful shapers of broad environmental imaginaries, coordinating meanings between consumers local and distant.  Through the work of WWF, Save Our Seas and the Nature Conservancy, whale sounds have come to furnish the GBR’s reputation for feature “five-star: nature (“the best of the best,” in the words of one Cetacea Lab supporter. See: Save Our Seas, 2017). Thanks in part to such publicizing efforts, distant online users now regularly participate in Cetacea Lab’s “acoustic community” (Truax 1984), or convention-bound group of listening subjects.  Increasingly over the course of my ethnography, interns would be listening not simply to support whale communities, but to support human ones: to pull online viewers and listeners into Cetacea Lab’s institutional orbit. By 2014, a single posting from Cetacea Lab (a photo or a sound clip) might elicit hundreds of enthusiastic comments, likes, re-posts and links on Facebook. I am not at liberty to re-quote the comments in question, but a close analogue is at hand. ‘,’ 76  which has operated out of nearby OrcaLab (Hanson Island, BC) since 2001, enables distant listeners to dial-in to OrcaLab’s sounds and partake in its listening activities – much like Cetacea Lab’s ‘Listen to Whales’ function. In her ethnography of, Bray (2004), notes a number of respondent statements that are worth re-quoting here:  Wow, what a show we are having. Thanks Orca Live. What a way to work. Typing, watching and listening to orcas. Made my day. spokes@Anacortes, Wash 29 July.   It’s amazing!! If someone told me a year ago I would be able to recognize certain pods I would have laughed. I know A’s for sure. But I can’t distinguish which group of A’s yet. Now I know I’s.  Are those resting calls? I just love hearing them.        [all from Bray, 2004 ]   The significance of these statements isn’t simply their portrayals of sonic experience, but sound’s effective placement into particular institutional networks. Whale sounds are available all over the Internet. The fact that people return again and again to the posts on the pages of OrcaLab and Cetacea Lab suggests an identification with the nature experiences they articulate. There is radical political potential to such “caring at a distance” (Buscher at al., 2014); insofar as it can support new alliances and support systems. At the same time, and to put it in culture industry terms, such circulating whale sounds also carried a standardizing function. The intricate systems of communication and sociality characterizing their situated multispecies occurrence – details of where and when they were recorded, for instance – were lost in translation: edited out for 77  efficiency. At the same time, they were helping distant viewers normalize the experience of underwater nature, channeling whales through WWF and TNC-approved digital hydrophones.     Through the mass of institutional products created in the GBR – images, celebrities, whale sounds – comes the deeply colonial idea that nature itself, and not simply the GBR, would disappear if not for the heroic efforts of conservationists.  The two tendencies operating here – a rich meaningful symbolic order, and an air of panic regarding its possible demise – contain formal similarities to the totalitarian structures mapped in Adorno’s “Authoritarian Personality” (1950). The comparison is hyperbolic, but not too hyperbolic.  Adorno and Horkheimer’s claim that the culture industry generates “role models for people who are to turn themselves into what the system needs” remains cannily relevant in light of the celebrity heroes, species-hierarchies, and charismatic sights and sounds presented in conservation products. Through vessels of nature experience, audiences everywhere can partake in the “promise of happiness” that supervenes the culture industry as a whole.   More and more, conservation projects depend on the making of global connections – on the fusing of distinct social narratives, expert working-groups, institutional directives, and capital flows. What Tsing calls “dramatic performances” have become essential prerequisites to the economic successes of these initiatives (2005: 118). That is because “dramatic performance” furnish conservation landscapes with investment opportunities, socially compelling narratives, and sublime nature experiences institutions can showcase to generate support (2005: 51). If indirectly, the whale sounds Cetacea Lab records and listens to belongs to the suite of activities that makes conservation in the GBR profitable. They generate attention for the websites of the 78  international NGOs that promote Cetacea Lab’s work, and tout its research as a symbol for collective action in the face of environmental crisis. At the same time, they contain minute details about changing social and material conditions on the North Coast. They point to new infrastructures of environmental monitoring, new social interests and pressures, and a slow yet steady increase in regional ocean noise throughout the North Coast – even in the absence of major projects like Enbridge (Prince Rupert Port 2015). All of this points to uncertain outcomes for humpback, fin and killer whales, who have been massing in the waters around Cetacea Lab with increasingly frequency since 2004 (Ashe, Wray, and Picard, 2013). In a context of growing ocean noise and growing animal activity, whale sounds are likely to remain significant bearers of the complex interplays of the conservation economy.      Conclusion  The Cetacea Lab that commenced operations in 2001 is barely recognizable today. What started as a couple with a tent and a single hydrophone has morphed into an internationally recognized conservation authority, replete with an international caste of interns, stakeholders, funding grants, and research technologies.38 Throughout this period, the Lab’s co-founders have sought to remain committed to their foundational social responsibilities (including to the Gitga’at, each other, and the whale), and to champion the whale sounds that first drew them to the area.  In conservation, GW and JW would admit to growing difficulties in sustaining their                                                38 I can recall one telling conversation with GM in 2014. Angry at the idea that someone would advertise a visit to Cetacea Lab on his eco-tour without telling him or Janie, he asked me: “Is this something to be upset about, or is it just the world we live in?” While one of GM or JW entertained a visitor, the other often tried to assume a research task, momentarily putting on headphones, or simply excusing themselves to stand and listen to the speakers. Theirs was a real effort to navigate institutional pressures and commit to their research. 79  Lab’s quixotic status as a refuge for listening to whales. Faced with mounting administrative tasks (emails, trip co-ordinations, interviews), they have increasingly become “employees” of a vast conservation apparatus called the GBR (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1973. 8), a process which has afforded them new opportunities, but also new challenges. In scrutinizing this process, I am not denying the ecological crisis in the oceans. Short of a major shift in the behavior of people and governments, the oceans remaining biodiversity, in the GBR and elsewhere, is destined to rapidly diminish in the coming decades, through a combination of overconsumption, waste-products, and anthropogenic climate change (Moore et al., 2015). Whale conservation demands far more radical action than environmental conservation has been able to muster. GM and JW are well aware of this, but find their more radical environmental ambitions constantly “hemmed in between microphone and floodlight” (Adorno 1991, 23) – the spectacle of nature on one side and the chorus of human politics on the other.         Let me close by returning to the experience of listening to whale sounds. I want to suggest that aspects of this practice can push against the culture industry trappings the practice is routinely arranged within. As Eagleton (1990, 3) insists, the aesthetic is not simply an instrument of domination or rebellion; rather, it is “an eminently contradictory phenomenon,” bound to both. Within the reception of whale sounds are moments of instability; a sense of ‘weird-ness’ that others have remarked upon in the experience of listening to cetaceans (Lilly 1961). These moments are less common, but worth recovering. One intern discussed listening to humpback whales as “more ugly a sound, in fact, than I had thought before” (Linda, Pers. Comm.). Another mused that the experiences of hearing but not seeing whales made the sounds “not only beautiful but also eerie and uncomfortable” (Sara, Pers. Comm.).  In the Lab, our aesthetic judgements 80  typically bifurcated into celebrations of beautiful whale sounds and condemnations of ugly ocean noise. In both cases, we were encouraged to tune out dissonances in the pursuit of something that could be readily recognized, and easily consumed.   What does it say about our encounters with whales when we lack the words to know in fact what just happened?  For Purdy (2013: 915), “this confrontation with animals’ unknowable experience can conjure up uncanniness, the bewildering experience of not knowing another’s consciousness, or even whether consciousness is present at all.” To experience uncanniness in the whale encounter is to be up against a question that will not resolve quickly: what is this other creature’s experience? In that position, Purdy suggests, we might be able to learn something from our acknowledged confusion. Put otherwise, the confusion might be an occasion to question the limitations of the experiential frames we unthinkingly adopt in our encounters with nature.     Technology also matters here. Listened to live, whale sounds contain a great deal of noise, both from hydrophones and boat-propellers. The result is a set of composite sounds made of up of more than whale sound, but electronic systems and fragile underwater cables. They contain mixtures of electronic tones and dissonance, loud volumes and uncomfortable pitch shifts –  not unlike the distorted electric guitars I consider in Chapter 5, in fact, which affirms the essential idea that reception contexts matter a great deal to the values we invest in particular sounds. Against acculturated desires for smoothness and harmony, and the purities that have long informed environmentalist aesthetics (Douglas, 2002), we might embrace these imperfections. Listeners might valorize these moments as part of an aesthetic that embraces the 81  interconnectedness of aesthetics with society and nature (as well as human and whale). For Joanna Demers (2010: 151), contemporary experimental music is helpful in this regard. It is characterized by a form of “aesthetic listening” that revels in “the absence of the musical frame.” Listening experimentally suggests an environmentalism less bound to its canonical structures and signs, and more predisposed to free play, one shaped and re-shaped by a whale’s plurality of calls and responses. Encounters with noise might be a way to focus attention on the technological supports we hear through, but rarely listen to; and to reflect on the failures of technology to deliver pure experiences (Novak, 2014).  Changes in perception have been always been vital to the development of new environmental ethics, to the ways we objectify the world (Worster, 1994; Purdy, 2015). The insight is not incidental to the history of human-whale relations on the North Coast. Less than 100 kilometers from present-day Cetacea Lab are the remains of Rose Harbor, once one of the busiest whaling stations in the entire Northeast Pacific, and which only closed its doors in 1942 (Gregr, 2000).  In this regard, Cetacea Lab proposes practices through which to develop more respectful relations with whales.  It is a place for meeting non-humans, for enriching the basis for judgements about how to treat members of other species. Engaged through “aesthetic listening,” whale sounds might in turn help to dismantle the conceptual frames used to maintain false distances between nature and culture, to embrace instead the complex totality (and tonality) of actually-existing multispecies environments. For Aldo Leopold (1970), the ongoing challenge for ecological thinking is indeed to uncover the changing conditions for cultivating this response. As his oft-cited phrase goes, “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise” (1970: 262). The broad 82  claim here is that aesthetic revolution opens up pathways for forms of experiencing the world that are more profound than we previously thought possible.  83  CHAPTER 3 -  THE REIFICATION OF NOISE: NEOLIBERAL POLITICS IN PRINCE RUPERT  On July 16th 2012, Daybreak North, CBC Radio’s flagship program in Northern BC, invited Prince Rupert resident Brian Denton to share concerns about industrial activity in his hometown.  There was already much to recommend the topic in Prince Rupert that year: uncertainties around the Fairview Terminal expansion (overseen by the Prince Rupert Port Authority [PRPA]), as well as Indigenous-led demonstrations against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline (Rossiter 2016). By spring, many residents learned of the slate of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects with ambitions in the area (anywhere from two to ten, depending on who you asked). Any one of these issues would have likely connected with the listeners of Daybreak North. But Denton, a retired engineer with a low, booming, voice, discussed noise.  The “roaring” whistles came with “deep throbbing of engines” near his home, and the shunting rail cars were like “a thousand thunderbolts, going off in the middle of the night” (Daybreak North, 2012). Denton’s problem with industrial development was noise.  But, as he explained to Daybreak’s host, “there is so much more to this problem than just train whistles” (Daybreak North, 2012). For Denton, noise was a symbol for all that was going wrong in Prince Rupert, a community of just under 13,000 on BC’s North Coast.  The problems, he explained, were the consequence of a local elite, an indolent regulatory system, and the “greed that takes place with industrial development” (Daybreak North, 2012).    In what way was noise connected to these issues?  And how would ‘noise abatement’ shape a local effort to politicize Prince Rupert’s development trajectory? In this chapter, I take 84  up these questions.  Throughout the twentieth century, noise abatement campaigns have routinely presented citizens means to articulate claims about the trajectory of environmental change (Bijsterveld, 2008; Braun, 2013; Radovac, 2014; Cardoso, 2016). Beginning in 2007, the unwanted sounds of trains moving inbound and outbound from the Fairview terminal became some of the first discernable signs that a long-anticipated development process was finally underway in Prince Rupert. The perceived problematic noise some residents detected did not resonate with the general sensibility of the community, however. Many appeared indifferent. For others, train whistles were the “sound of money” (see entries for Hacking the Mainframe, 2008, 2010), a signal that prosperity had finally returned to the long-depressed Northern city.   Attempting to make sense of the ‘swing to the right’ that swept across the UK in the late 1970s, Stuart Hall (1979) remarked on the perception of an indefinite, yet palpable mood. This mood, or “common sense” (17), seemed to accompany the integration of neoliberal conditions of precarity and anti-collectivism into everyday life. Along similar lines, I will contend that a collective sensory attunement is significant for how it reveals a community’s experience of neoliberalism, the principal policy regime that has shaped Prince Rupert over the last two decades, and which in effect brought Denton’s train whistle noise to the city beginning in 2007.39 I use as my example the politics of noise abatement, as formulated by three clusters of mostly older white citizens between the years 2007-2014. These citizens were environmentally-                                               39 With this chapter, I mean to engage recent geographical debates about the politics of all things ‘atmospheric’ (e.g. Bissel 2010; McCormack 2015; Adey 2015; Anderson 2016). For Anderson (2016: 735), “atmospheres, structures of feeling and other pragmatic-contextual translations of the term ‘affect’ are ways in which things become significant and relations are lived.”  While in agreement with the idea that less visible aspects of everyday environments demand critical scrutiny, I worry over a tendency to abstract from the concrete, resulting in totalizing and politically-limited assessments of how ‘atmospheres’ form and can be challenged. Using Marxist and post-Marxist theory, I hope to demonstrate the significance of sound to an historical-geographically specific expression of politics. 85  concerned, but they were not ‘environmentalists’ in the way of the interns I explored in Chapter 1. Denton had never heard of Cetacea Lab, and for him (like many in Prince Rupert), the North Coast’s fragile salmon populations were far more distressing than its fragile whale populations. Not only were train whistles not the sound of money, for these residents, they were not something worth listening to at all. For many community members, train whistles, along with shunting rail cars and helicopter sounds, were “noise.” I contend that this naming, “noise,” is significant for how it reveals a community’s encounter with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism has transformed Prince Rupert’s economy, prompting residents to brace for region-wide LNG development and port expansions; fostering competitive speculation about transnational supply-chain growth (Stalk and MacMillan, 2013; Markey, 2014; Raj et al., 2016). The Port of Prince Rupert’s Fairview Terminal expansion is a stunning example of what Peck and Tickell (2002: 47) call neoliberalism’s “extrospective, aggressive posture on the part of local elites.” Supported by neoliberal policy at both the federal and provincial levels, the Port has enrolled a range of actors into its economic vision of Prince Rupert, and into which it positions itself as hegemon. As CEO Don Krusel boasted to residents in 2003, in the context of the first of several rounds of infrastructure upgrades, “there’s no turning back now” (Ritchie, 2003).               Neoliberal development in Prince Rupert combines the abstract dynamics of capitalism, particularly speculation-driven energy markets, with specific governmental processes, including the rollback of public sector spending and rollout of new public-private partnerships (Ryser et al., 2012; Stalk and MacMillan, 2013; Markey, 2014).40  The complex environmental regulatory                                                40 In Northern BC, the early 1990s marked the beginning of a shift in the Fordist compromise linking industry, government and labor (Barnes and Hayter, 1997). In Prince Rupert, the result economic downturn was especially bleak in the late 1990s, with bulk cargo exports were mired in a protracted slump due to weakened demand from 86  changes neoliberal policy has fostered – which include the diminished local presence of government agencies like Health Canada and Environmental Canada; the privatizing of Canadian National (CN) rail, whose infrastructure traverses Prince Rupert’s waterfront; and the aggrandizement of the quasi-private Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA), which oversees environmental governance over its vast local holdings – are a key theme in the discussion that follows. As residents await the promised returns of Prince Rupert’s industrial economy, the familiar neoliberal ‘rollback,’ justified under fiscal austerity conditions, has continued to impact their lives (Manson et al. 2016; Halseth and Ryser 2016). The shrinking, privatization, and dismantling of Prince Rupert’s public infrastructure (hospitals, schools, public works) has proceeded apace since the 1990s. A seemingly incurable condition of joblessness, at odds with the idea of a booming industrial economy, has deepened, and the 2001 closure of the Prince Rupert pulp mill devastated what was left of the city’s industrial workforce (Ommer 2007). But only a few years later (e.g. 2004), “Public Comments Invited” adverts and other announcements from industrial development proponents began to appear across the city – in the local newspaper, on the radio, pasted up on bulletin boards in the two downtown shopping plazas. It is within this anxious context of distress, uncertainty, and cautious hope that the sounds of trains – traversing the city’s once public waterfront to replenish the Port’s private holdings – would become a source of social contestation.                                                    Asian consumers. Of the 600 commercial boats and nearly 2000 fishermen who had inhabited the city in the 1970s, less than 1/3 remained (Ommer 2007). CN was by this time viewing the city as an economic albatross. In 1983 and 1984, local unions fought losing battles to keep coal-train crews stationed there. By the mid 1990s, it had sold off large tracts of its waterfront lands to the PRPA, removed tracks, and left a trail of contamination around the Kwinitsa Station. In the ensuing years, Prince Rupert began to experience its first population decline since World War II (Hutton, 2002). Between 2001 and 2006 alone, it lost 12.5% of its population, including substantial outmigration from young adults (Markey et al., 2014: 412). 87  I follow Chari (2011) in suggesting that neoliberalism – a pervasive economic ideology and political rationality centered on market rule, and jointly constituted in Prince Rupert through a combination of industrial capitalism, state regulation, and more general marketization (Peck 2013) – encourages particular modes of social perception, affect and cognition. In a neoliberal Prince Rupert, noise abatement offers a site for tracking changing state regulatory cultures and political reactions to them. Neoliberalism, with its proclamation of the market as the proper site of knowledge-generation (Mirowski, 2009), its putative hostility toward the inefficient (Peck and Tickell, 2002), and its valorization of self-interested subjects (Brown, 2015), supports certain ways of perceiving and negotiating environmental change, and discourages others. This means nothing so simple as an identifiably ‘neoliberal’ way of listening. But it does mean that contested natures like noise are significant for how they can crystallize changing material and social relations.  Prince Rupert’s noise-abatement campaigns offer a keyhole into the city’s contested growth trajectory, changing institutional cultures, and collective sense of identity. “Noise” is not only an unwanted acoustic experience, and an unruly sonic discourse, but an historical process outlining the situated experience of neoliberal governance as well.     Reification and Noise   I develop this argument through Lukács’ (1971) concept of ‘reification,’ the tendency to give the world a “thing-like” appearance. Reification is similar to Marx’s commodity fetishism, the concept from which it derives, but distinct insofar as it pertains to a more general social consciousness and pervasive social “attitude” (e.g. Lukács, 1971: 93). It is about engaging the world as a collection of independent “things”, which then evacuates the constitutive role of 88  social relationships. As Feenberg (2014) notes, technology is the key example of a reified relationship for Lukács, exemplifying a ceaseless societal drive towards quantification, objectification, and rationalization (Lukács, 1971: 83).  Through technology, subjects commit to practices which engender the reified compartmentalization of their social lives – often in lockstep with capitalism’s changing technical division of labor. One useful example involves the internet. While online communications appear to valorize social relations, the reality is very often new forms of participation in a “24/7” marketplace through which goods and services can circulate at faster and faster rates (Dean, 2009; Lovink, 2011). Bureaucracy is another key domain. Like the internet, the bureaucratic institution’s reified appearance of autonomy works to partition subjective experiences into individual component parts (the way bureaus of transportation, employment, and environmental management give political life the appearance of separate domains of existence, for example). In both instances, patterns of social use work to sustain the appearance of independent ‘things’ with incredible and uncontestable power over social life.    I am interested in an application of reification theory which departs from some of Lukács’ more untenable claims, such as his proposition of a universal class subject. In this chapter, reification is presented as a unifying theme across diverse experiential realities of Prince Rupert subjects encountering neoliberal governance, specifically. As Feenberg notes (2015: 490), “practices establish a world within which reified objects appear.” Economic practices establish the basis for the appearance of “the economy” as a distinct social sphere (Mitchell 2008). In a more limited register, noise abatement in Prince Rupert also pertains diverse to practices (responding to forms, writing petitions, sensing the environment), formal and informal, 89  through which Feenberg’s insight can be observed.41 Reification is the unintended effect of a desired politics of environmental change. It is an effect sanctioned by neoliberalism, with its deepening subsumption of social life to market logics. 42 Reification helps to theorize how Prince Rupert’s audiopolitical subject maneuvers at the nexus of economic structures and political possibilities comprise Prince Rupert’s neoliberal moment.     To conceive of noise as a thing is not new (Pinch and Bijsterveld, 2012). As the field of noise studies shows, the objectification of noise has proceeded along many diverse lines (Attali, 1985; Bijsteveld, 2008; Hainge, 2014). My task will be to demonstrate the elevated significance of reification in the noise politics I examine. Seemingly banal, I will suggest that a reified “noise” articulated with more general conditions in Prince Rupert, including the neoliberal transformation of its regulatory structures and guiding institutions. To affirm reification’s value to the present case, I pair Lukács’ insights with more recent contributions, which extend reification into domains he did not consider. Loftus (2006, 2013, 2015), for instance, demonstrates how reification can be applied to neoliberal practices of environmental governance. In the context of state-sanctioned water management in Durban, South Africa, he observes how readouts of water meters come to acquire a pervasive power over household decision-making, with politically debilitating effects (Loftus, 2006). Loftus does not accuse household decision-makers of erroneous thinking when he problematizes their deference to state-approved water                                                41 There is no singular definition of ‘noise abatement’ in the literature. This is perhaps reflective of the fact that different social contexts have historically advanced different legal, social, and spatial solutions to noise problems (e.g. Thompson 2002; Broer 2007; Bijsterveld 2008; Radovac 2011). My account presents noise abatement as a combination of state sanctioned and informal practices centered on the desired elimination of noise. This includes perceptions of unwanted sound, as well as efforts to decry noise through petitions, recollections, and maps.   42  For Lukács, “the split between the worker’s labour-power and his personality, its metamorphosis into a thing” (1971: 99), is a telltale sign of the social pervasiveness of reified thought. Ultimately, reification derives from the commodity logic discussed in Marx’s Capital – Volume 1. 90  quantifications. His point is that the water-meter’s ‘power’ is not autonomous in the way it is socially assumed to be, but is instead relationally produced and contestable as such. The de-politicization of human-environment relations given here is a guiding insight for what follows. Similarly, social media engagements with reification – as in the work of Dean (2009), Fuchs (2009), and Crary (2013) – give varied examples of occasions where subjects reproduce reified communications systems that exclude rather than include their meaningful participation.  Unifying these insights and setting them toward the question of politics, Wendy Brown (2007, 2015) grounds the relevance of reification in the political life of neoliberal society. Brown’s theory of neoliberalism follows Lukács by asking how economic practices set conditions for social meaning.  She proposes that neoliberalism’s devastating record of success – its disciplining of labor movements, its reductions of 'inefficiencies’ in government provision – hinges on its ability to “reach beyond the market” in ways hitherto unavailable to capital (2015: 2). This includes the false promises of online politics – routinely presented by telecommunications companies and neoliberal governments as occasions where political contributions naturally follow the very act of typing (Dean, 2009) – to the marketization of new spheres of environmental governance and perception (e.g. Loftus, 2006. See also: Dardot and Laval, 2014). Notable for my purposes is Brown’s interest in the fate of homo politicus –  the subject denotative of humanity’s political decision-making capacities – on which classical democratic theory is founded.  Brown describes the neoliberal condition as one in which market reifications (e.g. “human capital”) replace all other forms of social and political legitimacy.  Under neoliberalism, homo economicus is no longer confined to the economic, but becomes 91  omnipresent, edging out homo politicus in the process.43 In line with Brown, this chapter demonstrates how a specifically neoliberal attempt to eliminate homo politicus is achieved, in part, through an anti-politics of noise abatement, which gathers environmental concerns, reifies them, and ultimately syncopates them with the market rhythms that construct that society.     My argument is as follows: in Prince Rupert between 2007 and 2014, the political processes available for contesting the effects of neoliberalism – including industrial development – were reified.  They were reified by the noise campaigners themselves. Once reified, by definition, the processes claiming to deliver political participation are no longer political in any progressive sense. The logic I am observing bears resemblance to accounts of the “post-political,” a governance process marked by ‘‘the reduction of the political to administration where decision-making is increasingly considered to be a question of expert knowledge and not of political position” (Swyngedouw, 2010: 225). But I prefer the language of reification and neoliberalism for the way it more adequately grasps the differentiated economic processes at play in situated political formations – including relations of class, and the institutional objectives of developmentalist states in resource peripheries (for a relevant critique of post-politics, see: Mitchell et al. 2015). Three neighborhood campaigns – one in Prince Rupert’s wealthy West End, another in an adjoining lower-middle-class area known as Water Street, and the last in Dodge Cove, a nearby fishing village and de facto Prince Rupert suburb – sought to register noise as an augur of unwanted industrial development. Each aimed to bring noise into the wider consciousness of the city, as a way of contesting Prince Rupert’s trajectory of development. But                                                43 Under neoliberalism, “there is no division between labor and capital,” Brown claims, “… there is only capital… human, corporate, financial, or derivative” (2015: 161). Brown’s point is that neoliberalism seeks to eliminate labor as a point of political consciousness. This is more severe than Harvey (2005), which proposes neoliberalism as an elite-led effort to harness the state to disempower labour.  In Brown (2015), the very desire to resist is defanged.      92  to return to the insight of Feenberg (2015), neoliberal noise abatement practices would establish a Prince Rupert marked by the appearance of reified things. Each effort to establish a wider debate about industrial restructuring was thwarted.  Each one, I argue, was thwarted because their energy went into the minutia of the different EIA processes, online debate cultures, and political attitudes sanctioned by a neoliberal society, whose guiding logics went unchallenged. Residents would treat noise as a thing, and not recognize it as a set of socio-political relations which needed to be contested. In Prince Rupert, noise is used to obscure the political challenges of neoliberal-led development, rather than to address them head on.    For Lukács (1971), reification is problematic but also necessary for subjects (workers, in his account) to recognize themselves as historical agents.  People with different interests need to become aware that they share a common struggle – which is precisely what the noise campaigns claimed to be about.  With reification as my anchor for diagnosis and critique, I aim to show how noise abatement exposes failures to collectively contest industrial development in Prince Rupert. Noise abatement thus outlines a broader process – the exhaustion of avenues for politics, as Prince Rupert citizens would conceive them. This outcome can be tracked across three sites of social engagement – official, informal and, adapting a term from Loftus (2012), the everyday. Each one pertains to different aspects of noise abatement, as it would come to function in Prince Rupert.  “Noise,” while no master-key to neoliberalism and its effects in Prince Rupert’s political dynamics, nevertheless reveals some of the essential tendencies that define its situated expression.  I briefly touch upon the three sites below.       93  (i) Official: Bureaucratic Technologies and Environmental Governance  The Prince Rupert residents who sought to mitigate noise confronted a governance regime enrolling them into new “practices of accountability” (Li, 2015: 199), fundamental to the neoliberal regulation of socio-ecological change in wealthy Western democracies (Castree 2010; Bakker 2012).  Introduced into Canada in the 1970s (Nobel, 2002), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) predates the state’s full-fledged adoption of neoliberal policy. It nevertheless acquires a new prominence under neoliberalism, whose market-logics and relentless demands for quantification it energizes (Peyton and Franks, 2015). In Canada, the Conservative federal government’s 2012 streamlining of EIA through the passage of the two federal omnibus bills (Kirchoff, Gardner and Tsugi, 2014) is perhaps the clearest expression of this ongoing process. In Prince Rupert, EIA is expressive of neoliberalism’s generalized “audit culture” as well as the growing intransigence it demands of state regulatory institutions responding to local environmental concerns (Peck and Tickell, 2015).   As Vos and Freeman (2016) argue, EIA sanctions forms of reified thought and behavior. Not just a technique of environmental regulation, EIA is a knowledge and governance paradigm rooted in compartmentalization, quantification, and control, “based on what is and can be calculated” (Lukács, 1971: 88). Especially relevant for this discussion is the tensions between the administrative ‘forms’ of EIA and the human ‘content’ they purport to carry (Nadasdy, 2003; Li, 2015).  EIA documents represent social relations and socio-ecological processes (the ‘content’) on the basis of pre-ordained expert-driven categorisations (the ‘forms’). In the regulatory literatures I consider here, one consistently observes the transformation of Prince Rupert into a 94  spatial assemblage of Valued Environment Components (VECs), assessment zones, and contour lines (Prince Rupert Port Authority 2011). Through such means, EIA enables development proponents to manage the environment as a set of independent ‘facts’. How noise is actually comprehended in EIA logics is rarely clear, however. The question of whether a “significant” noise exposure should pertain to the loss of a ‘Valued Environmental Component’ (VEC), a ‘Cultural Resource’, or both, is fundamentally unclear in EIA practice (Wood 2008; Ehrlich and Ross, 2014). In Prince Rupert’s noise abatement campaigns, this routinely leads to social discontent, not the ‘valued input’ people are hoping to give.     Prince Rupert campaigners would work through a number of EIA assessments in their abatement efforts: including for Fairview Terminal, the Pinnacle Pellet Plant, and various LNG projects. Insofar as the version of politics modeled in these EIA is reifying, it likewise encourages the production of a reified subject. Neoliberalism’s individualizing “human capital” view of the world solicits this subject, even as it replenishes its denominative sense of alienation and isolation (Brown, 2015). Residents would be upset to learn that their detailed complaints were ‘known’ in EIA literature only as quantitative contributions to a socially significant “6.5% highly annoyed” threshold (e.g. Aurora EAO, 2014). Reified categories proliferated by EA (e.g. “Public Stakeholders,” “Aboriginal Groups”) would deepen social cleavages; de-valuing social perspectives unable to meet the sustainable development calculus (Peyton and Franks, 2015: 4). Even as it proposes itself as an official space for deliberative democracy (Hanna, 2004), EIA affirms Brown’s insight that “much of the normative and constitutive power of governance occurs through and in processes that bear no reference to agents” (2015: 124). Both subject and 95  environmental relation are reduced to things which depoliticize social efforts to imbue environmental concerns with forms of social-contestation.    (ii) Informal: Technology-driven Fragmentation  EIA is exemplary of the “processes of rule” (Lemke, 2004) that make environmental governance a means of ‘thingification’ in Prince Rupert. But it does not act alone. In Prince Rupert, the collective confusion I witnessed surrounding the EIA process is underwritten and supported by the reified discourse I observed in a less formal setting: online communications technology.  Many communications scholars follow Lukács in engaging online communications as socially pervasive sites of contemporary reification (e.g. Dean, 2009; Flisfeder, 2012). Uzelman’s (2011) study of activism in Vancouver is revealing here. He observes a reification of social media extending from the false yet culturally pervasive belief that free access to information, including freedom to post anonymously, automatically entails more democratic social relations. By exposing the social platform to ranting and spam, such ‘democratic’ attributes instead come to undermine the democratic praxis they are supposed to deliver.  Rather than fundamentally distinctive entities, online communications tend to mirror the “routine practices of relating” that characterize offline communications (Baym, 2010: 5).   Noise did not cause the reified social “attitudes” I observed throughout political discourse in Prince Rupert. Rather, it circulated them. In particular, broadly-conceived discussions about noise abatement became sites for the generation and regeneration of reified thought-forms and behaviors. Claims over ‘how bad’ the noise was, or ‘whose fault’ the noise was, routinely failed 96  to confront opposing views. The potentially galvanizing moments that were generated – the pervasiveness of port-related regulatory problems, as noted in comment after comment – were often obscured. Under a neoliberal democracy that “speaks without responding,” an angry rant often generates more approval than a measured response (Dean, 2009: 23; Buscher, 2016). The comments I discuss in this chapter are characterized by despondency and impassioned ranting, not the accumulated intelligence an information society is supposed to engender. The comments are expressions, then, of a general pattern of reified behavior, one which naturalizes the “way things are,” and is emboldened by neoliberal social mores.    (iii). Everyday (Left Melancholy)    For the residents I spoke to, the early 1970s – when the fishing industry was booming, the environment appeared healthy, and the government “still cared” – best approximates the ‘true spirit’ of Prince Rupert. Many campaigners (and many residents more broadly) invoked this idea: Rupert’s political progressivism, proud isolation, rich food culture, and playful status as a rain-soaked “land of liquid sunshine” (Bowman, 1982). I propose that when Prince Rupertites of a certain age hear train whistle “noise”, they engage what Brown (1999), borrowing from Benjamin (1931), calls left melancholy. For them, “noise” clashed with an understanding of community that was static and unchanging, and self-evidently good and true. Against this ‘external’ threat, a civic political identify itself becomes a thing to protect, and to objectify in the facades of union halls, the once bustling dock, and even the sonorities of the natural landscape.   97  Brown outlines this idea when she asks: “And do we also see a certain thingness of the Left take shape, its reification as something that ‘Is’ the fantastical memory that it once ‘was,’ at the very moment that it so clearly is not/one?” (1999, 23). I propose that when Prince Rupertites of a certain age and generation hear train whistle “noise”, they engage what Brown, borrowing from Benjamin (1931), calls (1999) left melancholy. Left melancholy is not galvanizing, but an “attitude[s] to which there is no longer in general any corresponding political action” (Benjamin 1931, x).44 Brown (1999) updates Lukács, suggesting left melancholy as a symptom of contemporary reified thought.  Deflated by left melancholy is the very desire to mobilize homo politicus, to confront present-day society’s ills. It speaks again to the theme I noted above: reification blunts any political response by turning potential avenues of resistance into things.  As well as considering its debilitating nostalgia – e.g. the left melancholic whose political identity of Prince Rupert increasingly exists today as a thing of the past, undone by decades of government defunding, the dissolution of the North Coast fishery, etc. – I want to reflect on left melancholy’s sensory aspect, something Brown never considers. In Prince Rupert, the left melancholic I encounter came replete with an imagined soundscape – my interviews and observations would reveal the glug of gillnet fishing boats; the creak of wooden docks, birdsong, and “old thyme” music as examples.  Noise enters these imagined spaces as a disruptive force, a symbolic declaration that a new social order is immanent (Attali, 1985). The left melancholic brings to bear on “noise” not only pre-formulated expressions of loss, but an idealized soundscape corresponding to a desired civic-ness; a memory which may temporarily mollify, but                                                44 This also accords with Lukács’ depiction of the “contemplative” stance adopted in reified thought: “the contemplative stance adopted toward a process mechanically confirming to fixed laws, enacted independently of man’s consciousness and impervious to human intervention, i.e. a perfectly closed system” (1971: 89). 98  does not embrace the task of setting out political agendas capable of challenging the tribulations of the present.    Methodology  This chapter gathers a range of insights, materials, and observations. I develop the investigation principally through “sonic ethnography,” which Peake (2016) defines as an in-depth study of a sounding context, combining participant observation and archival sources. My efforts focus principally on residents who self-identify with the noise abatement campaigns. It is important to emphasize that even as I problematize their frames of analysis, I do not claim to capture all the social antagonisms embedded in Prince Rupert’s politics of noise abatement.   I generated approximately 45 semi-structured interviews and conversations over a two-year period (spring 2013 – spring 2015), with local residents, government officials, and persons from neighboring communities of Terrace and Port Edward. In all these cases, I sought to understand how campaigners discussed noise, how they experienced it, and what structuring forces and assumptions lay behind their political strategies. In addition to interview materials, I explor environmental assessment literatures, blogs, newspapers, public speeches, and popular non-fiction covering a range of topics (e.g. Prince Rupert’s union history). I pay particular attention to Hacking the Mainframe, a community blog which contained some of the most revealing discourse on local noise I would come across. 45 Studies of blog spaces and blog culture                                                45 The design of the page has been modified considerably since 2013, when I initiated this research. It now features information that further decreases the anonymity of the comments. 99  are often useful for discourse analysis and critique (Dean, 2009; Attewell, 2012). In presenting quotes, I have sought to respect privacy and proprietary materials, using publically viewable documents or correspondence only when authors willingly shared materials with me.   Finally, this chapter makes use of recent disciplinary interests in ‘audio methods’ (see: Gallagher, 2015; Gallagher and Prior, 2013). I deploy a ‘noise questionnaire’, asking people to comment on the spatial distribution of sounds and their associations (details, emotions, actors). I also organize ‘sound-walks’ – interventions that emphasize “the sensuousness of walking as a mode of apprehending” (Pinder, 2001: 5) – with members of each of the three neighbourhoods in an effort to stimulate group discussions. Arranged four times between Fall 2013 and Summer 2014, these sound-walks followed community-identified routes where “noise” sources (e.g. the Port, or the Pellet Plant) have been previously observed. Residents from the West End and Dodge Cove generously agreed to commit to 45-60 min. walks with me, which lead across hilly neighborhood streets and park areas that brought us in and out of earshot of the Fairview Terminal.  At their most insightful, “sound-walks” are edifying engagements, sensitizing people to the activity of listening, which can in turn prompt challenges to presumed relationships between listening and social contexts.               100  Listening to Rupert 2007-2014       Figure 3. 1 Graham Avenue, in Rupert’s West End, with a view to the Fairview Terminal, Sept 2013. Photo: B. Denton. Used with permission.  (i) Official      For Brian Denton and others in the West End, the problematic nature of the proposed Fairview Terminal conversion, less than a kilometer from his ocean side homes, was audible. It could be apprehended as a set of unwanted sonic relationships – some construction sounds, but most of all train whistle noise. To contend with this issue, he and other West End residents sought to engaged with the agent, or proponent, overseeing Fairview’s development. This was the Prince Rupert Port, which was at the time (2007) drawing unprecedented interest in the wake of the Conservative Federal Government’s avowed need to expand Canada's trading horizons. “Nowhere is this attempt to orient national investment and infrastructure toward the Chinese– American circuit more stark than with the “Chicago Express…” Cowen (2014: 73) notes, 101  [which] runs from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to the American rail hub of Chicago.” Local efforts to mitigate noise thus came to be mediated by a 300-page “Environmental Screening Document” (2006) or ‘ESD,’ in which the Port of Prince Rupert (PRPA), outlined its efforts to assess impacts associated with Fairview’s conversion from a breakbulk facility (e.g. dispensing wood products and coal) into a modern container terminal capable of conveying stackable 20 ft. containers, or ‘TEU’s.   Elsewhere in town, Prince Rupert residents would wait to get involved in noise complaints. Several long blocks east of Denton’s home, over the Second Avenue bridge, lies a collection of vinyl-sided bungalows bordered by long, rectangular apartment building. The area is not far from the old Kwinitsa Railway Station (constructed, 1911), which at one time linked 400 identical railway stations along the tracks of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway from Winnipeg, MB, to Prince Rupert (Large 1973). Abandoned since 1986, the waterfront area had since become a de facto dog-walking park and short-cut to downtown. When I first moved to Prince Rupert in 2012, a construction site had recently sprouted up on the far side of the rail-tracks, and new fencing separated the waterfront homes from a well-used embankment area. For the residents living near Water St., noise had arrived in full force a year earlier, when construction of the Pinnacle Pellet Plant began. Because the source of the Water St. noise was mediated by a different project than the Fairview Terminal (though both were overseen by the Prince Rupert Port), Water St. residents were shunted down a different assessment process than the West Enders. Meanwhile, a third neighborhood grouping emerged beginning in 2014. Dodge Cove residents were intermittent participants to the concerns around Fairview and Pinnacle over the years, but their 102  involvement with environmental assessment only commenced fulsomely when the Aurora LNG project was first proposed.    Prince Rupert’s waterfront is the Traditional Territory of the Tsimshian Nations – whose peoples help to make the city one of the highest per capita Indigenous cities in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2012).  But the environmental assessments for all three waterfront projects – Fairview, Pinnacle, and Aurora – were not administered by local First Nations governments, but by the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA), which is mandated by the Canadian government to support Canadian trade by developing its land tracts and/or leasing them to private sector developers (Hick, 2011). The PRPA’s close relationship with Ottawa, and the Conservative party which controlled government when I commenced this study, bears emphasizing. Since the 1960s, Canada’s federal governments have considered but never implemented comprehensive port reforms. In the 1990s, this began to change with the introduction of neoliberal market reforms to the Canadian Marine Act (Irchia, 1999), and it accelerated dramatically with Harper’s election in 2006. Bill C-43 (2014), which was being tabled at the time I commenced my study, effectively allowed federal Cabinet to exempt Rupert’s port lands (as well as those of other ports) from key requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 and Species At Risk Act. These responsibilities would be turned over to the PRPA, along with new freedoms to conduct profit-seeking activity. Years before the introduction of C-43, it was apparent to many in Prince Rupert that “the Port is the head honcho,” to quote one resident (Nobels, Pers. Comm.). For Nobels, a discernable whiff of self-importance – participant, perhaps, to the ‘mood’ Hall (1979) observes – was exuded by the Port’s employees, who could be seen around town wearing sleek blue jackets with a company logo on the side. 103   The technical determinations noise presented to residents concerned about Fairview Terminal, the Pinnacle Pellet Plant, and Aurora LNG were similar: each composed the Rupert environment through a series of discreet spatial logics. Consistent with general EA practice, they measured “noise” on a logarithmic scale of decibels (‘dB’; or sometimes ‘dBA’, depending on the site of interest) (Bijsterveld, 2008).  They abstracted it an isolable and independently managed ‘Valued Environmental Component’ (VEC), distinct from other predetermined categories of assessment: “Noise,” “Air Quality”; “Land Use”; “Physical Heritage,” etc. (Cite). To procure necessary approval permits, they distributed the sound spatially and temporally, insisting that it met conditions in some areas but not others. For example, Fairview’s ESD declared that “industrial noise” emanating from project- construction would maintain “typical high population density noise limits” (85dB), beyond approximately 300 m of the source (Keystone Environmental, 2006: 113; compare with: Aurora, 2014). Although each project articulated their noise assessments to different sounds, sites, and social contexts, they held similar conclusions: “noise” is “not significant” (Keystone Environmental, 2006: 158); “noise” from “construction activity” is “low,” and with “No adverse effect anticipated” (Pinnacle, 2011: 45); “helicopter noise” is not worthy of mitigation activity (Aurora, 2014 Sec. 4.4-25 to 4.4-26).46                                                   46 During Aurora’s “pre-application stage” (spring and summer of 2014), Dodge Cove residents submitted numerous noise complaints to the proponent, focusing on the subject of helicopter noise, related to geotechnical surveys. However, the resulting Environmental Assessment document, or ‘EAO,’ did not identify mitigation measures in relation to helicopter noise, likely because the guiding government document, the BC official noise guidelines or OCG, does not identify a course of action for “construction noise assessment” (Page 4.4-35).   104  With Fairview and Pinnacle, these determinations – e.g. “noise” as “not significant” – contributing to the decision to recommend – or in Aurora’s case, continuing assessing – the project. In Canadian environmental assessment legislation, “significant adverse impacts” is the central question project decision-makers must address, with the determination of “significant” effects potentially eliminating a proposal from construction (Government of Canada 1994. There are as yet no definitive regulatory thresholds or criteria for the determination of impact significance, however, making “expert judgement” paramount (see: Ehrlich and Ross, 2014). In other words, two shared problems – the absence of any criteria significant, the status accorded to non-local environmental consultancies – underlay each of the neighborhood engagements with EIA. Potentially, these could serve as a basis for making common cause among the neighborhoods, not to mention other local communities who had shown the structure of EIA to be woefully inadequate to local environmental concerns (e.g. Gill and Richie, 2011).    In contesting the project decisions, residents would accept the development proponents’ ways of partitioning their local environment. They would accept their differently-specified ‘assessment zones,’ explaining them as being “about each of our specific noise concerns,” in the words of one (Denton, Pers. Comm.). In so doing, they would accept the industry presentation of the acoustic environment as a vast array of discreet sounds, only a few of which could engaged at a given time. When Denton and others on the West End heard train whistles, they formulated a politics specific to this sound, one that could prove the “significance” train whistle noise.47  Water St. residents confronted a different noise.  For them, the main issue was train-car                                                47 The residents also engaged Health Canada, the government authority tasked to regulate health impacts related to industrial emissions (noise, dust etc.) in Prince Rupert (Denton, Pers. Comm.). 105  ‘shunting,’ a high-pitched blast which occurs when rail-car break-pads reignite. This shunting articulated with the construction needs of Pinnacle Energy (2012), which needed raw materials from the BC interior. Both Pinnacle and Fairview created deep throbbing industrial sounds which Dodge Cove residents would hear and be disturbed by. But when these residents responded, they did so in isolation from the noise-abatement discussions in the West End and on Water St.  As I was winding down my study in late 2014, Dodge Cove became enveloped in the Aurora LNG project, proposed by Nexen Energy, a subsidiary of the Chinese state. Only then would it articulate a broad anti-noise politics, and this time around a third sound source: helicopter noise.  Residents sought to correct the noise-partitioned aspects of their environment in different ways. For West End resident Judy Warren, the determination of “not significant noise” was dependent on an erroneous spatial justification: the Fairview Terminal’s “remoteness” and “isolation” from Prince Rupert.   E.g.: “The construction site is remote from the City population center in an industrial, underdeveloped area within City limits” (Keystone Environmental, 2006: 110).   And: “Due to the isolated location of the project site, the intermittent nature of the construction works and operational activities, and proposed mitigation measures, noise issues are not expected to be a significant concern with the Fairview Terminal” (Keystone Environmental, 2006: 114).   Warren could sense the falseness of this supposed “remoteness,” she explained to me. Her distress led her to chide Health Canada on its failure to recognize that the location of the 106  Fairview site was not “remote” but in fact quite close to “family homes” (Warren, Pers. Comm.).  Like Denton, Warren was disappointed in Canada’s environmental regulators, who failed to grasp their noise problem. She repeatedly reminded me that the state was “letting its people down” (Warren, Pers. Comm). The logic is similar to the “wounded attachments” Wendy Brown (1995) first theorized in the neoliberal 1990s, in which identity becomes over-invested in its own suffering and preserves its sense of injury through the refusal to give up its identity claim. Noise kept telling people what they already knew to be true.   On Water St, “remoteness” was not the frame through which noise was to be engaged. Humming with only “moderate potential for disturbance” (Westview Development Pinnacle Project, 2012: 34), idling trains were undeniable proximate – less than 200 meters from the tall-grass abutting the nearest homes. But the main issue was that they were only supposed to operate during “weekday working hours”. Pinnacle’s Environmental Impact Screening Review (EASR) had left its definition of “weekday working hours” unspecified (Pinnacle 2012: Sect. 3.5). This freed the proponent from an obligation to maintain consistency regarding the duration of its activity. For West End residents like Camille Mark and Ken Shaw, the noise disturbance that transpired along Water St. was even worse than the more patterned noise heard in the West End, because it “could happen at any given moment, and just when you think its quiet – bam! – they got ya!” (Pers. Comm. Mark).    This seemingly innocuous cognitive split, “weekend working hours” vs. “remoteness,” encourage the compartmentalization of Prince Rupert’s noise problems. A shared acoustic relationship between Water St. and the West End was obscured, with residents accepting rather 107  than contesting the formal separations of the assessment projects. West End residents were too preoccupied with Fairview to give the Pinnacle facility much attention – even when they saw the overlaps.48 In his engagements with Fairview, Denton had drawn attention to the PRPA’s statement that trains would not proceed north of the Fairview site (Keystone Environmental, 2006: 113). This ongoing use of the railyard was a contravention that supported the concern Water St. residents held about train shunting. But Denton’s efforts were geared to the problem of whistling, not simply because shunting was a less audible for him, but also because it received less discussion in the environmental assessment that most preoccupied him – e.g. Fairview’s ESD (Denton, Pers. Comm.).   Every few months, Prince Rupert’s waterfront is temporarily reclaimed by local First Nations communities, who use its beaches to stage ceremonies and political demonstrations punctuated by raucous chants and loud drumming. Non-Indigenous Rupertites are generally encouraged to come to these events, and many do; their enthusiastic presence captured in photographs featured in the next issue of the local newspaper, The Northern View.  It is therefore interesting that the colonial nature of Prince Rupert’s waterfront administration is not considered to be a factor contributing to its dwindling social and ecological character – at least among the residents I spoke with. Since it has been a settler-colonial municipality (1908), the City Hall has performed many of the essential services on the city waterfront – including garbage clean-up and civic beautification.  Yet like the local First Nations governments of Metlakatla and Gixaala, City Hall does not officially ‘control’ Prince Rupert’s waterfront lands. The First Nations are                                                48 Brian Denton was probably the most consistently supporter of the Water St. concerns, frequently emailing Ken Shaw with updates and materials (Shaw, Pers. Comm). But his voluminous collection and sharing efforts was exceptional, and I did not come across another West End resident with his level of commitment.    108  illegally dispossessed, and City Hall is edged out through legal partitioning. The Prince Rupert waterfront is the joint property of Canadian National Rail (CN) – which privatized in 1995 and has acted as a negligent landlord since – and the PRPA. At one point, I asked Denton about reaching out to local First Nations leaders, who in conjunction with the City, have reason to challenge the way environmental issues are administered on their waterfront lands. “The First Nations have other problems,” he responded bluntly, “and the city is powerless” (Denton, Pers. Comm.). I mention this dismissal not to slight Brian Denton,49 but to highlight the way his otherwise-laudable energies were so tightly (and problematically) focused on the federal regulatory bureaus and the PRPA. He did not pander to local elites. He simply carried the privilege of assuming the leading authorities would rally to his cause because he was an injured white male (Brown, 1995). Countering the PRPA’s claims in their ESD, Denton would write a response listing not one but six at-grade crossings where inbound trains sounded their whistles in close proximity to residences in the West End (Denton, 2010). The PRPA statement that “trains associated with Fairview operations will not be using this level crossing as the trains from Fairview will depart southward from the site” (ESD 2006: 113) was thus “outrageously false” in his assessment (Denton, Pers. Comm.).                                                49 I tried to follow up on Denton’s claim at several points in my study. Two meetings scheduled with different local band councils (Metlakatla and Gitxaala; both in August 2013) each had to be cancelled at the last minute. However, I was able to have informal conservations with friends and community members from Hartley Bay, BC, many of whom live off-reserve in Prince Rupert for extended periods. Most individuals I spoke to agreed that Prince Rupert’s recent industrial noise was a disturbance, but that they didn’t see it worth complaining about. One noted that “boat engines makes you more deaf” (Eaton, Pers. Comm.) and that he used to wear ear-plugs when driving his boat. At the same time, many people were concerned about ocean noise, and specifically, its impact on whale species. For Gitga’ata Nicole Robinson, ocean noise is sufficient enough a concern for politicizing industrial sound (Robinson, Pers. Comm.). Nevertheless, the supposition that people don’t complain about noise unless they consciously suffer from noise (e.g. noise-induced loss of sleep, heightened stress, etc.) is specious. The lack of interest I uncovered regarding the significance of airborne industrial noise probably had more to do with the diminished expectations many First Nations have regarding Canada’s regulatory state (especially in comparison to middle class white people) than it does to unwanted sound exposure. More research is required to address this question. See: Samson 1999.  109   By 2010, it was clear to West End residents that the ‘process’ guiding the environmental assessment of Fairview was insulating PRPA from their efforts.  The “acoustic environment” was a jumble of noisy things – some “not significant,” some with “minor disturbance,” some only “annoyance” (e.g. Fairview CSR, 2012: 59) – that were not being rectified. The corporate mode of EIA presentation was obscuring the inter-connections and effectively forcing people into “downstream” issues – the question of whether the PRPA’s ‘Public Comment Line’ adequately quantified the number of annoyed complainants, for instance (see: Keystone Environmental, 2006: 88).50 The emails West End residents shared with me (from 8 individuals) suggest a sense of grinding frustration owing to the perceived ineffectiveness of their abatement efforts. They also present a window onto broader social dynamics. Immediately following the 2008 financial crisis, hype for energy development in Prince Rupert dipped, as proponents redrew their growth strategies and awaited market corrections. Yet neoliberal discourse remained a debilitating force throughout BC’s Northwest – not least because of the downsizing, closure, and regionalizing of environmental regulatory services it encouraged on the policy level (Ryser, Rajput, Halseth, & Markey, 2012). In a context of looming development, massive, multi-volume environment assessments demanded long hours of careful reading, even as they enabled little recourse for questions and assistance.                                                  50 Several of West End residents I interviewed had devoted hours of emailing to understanding the contents of the Port’s “noise complaint program.” Judy and Bob Warren told me over coffee that the existing system took complaints individually, and thus did not allow for others to see the massing of their concerns.  But what they sought were not allies but better websites. In an email to the Port dated 06/22/09, Brian Denton demanded a “tabulated document” containing the call “statistics” so that aggregate concerns “can be seen by all involved” (Pers. Comm. Denton 07/10/12). 110  As Bijsterveld notes (2008: 44), “dramatic descriptions of noise” are common strategies for citizens seeking to elicit response from regulators. In Prince Rupert, the rise of ‘irrational’ statements about noise should be seen in dialectical relation to the technical requirements populated by a relentless culture of environmental impact assessment (See: Lawrence, 1993). After years of seeing it around town, many residents would tell me that they still don’t know what the phrase “assessment process” actually means. They didn’t know what their “rights were in terms of whose fault that noise was” (B. Warren, Pers. Comm.); or “what happens after the deadline to submit comments” (J. Warren, Pers. Comm.). Fairview’s ESD had noted that “noise related to train traffic will increase by 50% compared to previous levels” (Keystone Environmental, 2006: 113). But train whistles continued to make Brian Denton’s life in Prince Rupert unbearable, far more than the ‘50%’ number suggested (Denton, Pers. Comm.). As he explained in a letter to Health Canada: “My wife and I have lived in our same location in Prince Rupert for close to 40 years and we can state categorically that the noise from rail traffic for the past 5 years has been 1,000 times worse than ever before” (Denton 2011). Several years later, one anonymously identified Dodge Cove would say much the same thing: “If you must allow gigantic and incredibly noisy generators on Digby, at least have the decency to build them well into the old artillery hill at the south end of digby [sic] to minimize the destructive influence the constant noise will have on our sanity, sense of community, and private property investment” (Environmental Assessment Office, 2015: unpaginated).  Asked another: “How can one accurately get a baseline when Digby Island has already been exposed to more human activity and helicopter noise than normal?” (Environment Assessment Office, 2015: unpaginated).   111  The political consequences of these assertions are better understood by returning to reification's ‘subjective’ moment, and the power-laden ways social relations become apprehended by differently-situated actors. In the 2011 Fairview Terminal Comprehensive Screening Report or ‘CSR’, Denton’s neighbors Bob and Judy Warren appear (as does Denton), as “public stakeholders.” Similarly, Dodge Cove residents Laurie Moore and Des Nobels become “Community Stakeholders” when they attend Aurora LNG’s Working Group Meeting on February 6th, 2017.  They are no longer expressions of communities, but individual ‘stakeholders,’ individuated under a neoliberal regulatory logic that recognizes concerns as arising from self-interest (Brown, 2015).  Moreover, they are encouraged to view each in individuating ways. By their middle and late stages, the abatement campaigns in West End and Water St. would begin to rapidly lose membership, even as the same number of residences remained exposed to noise (Denton, Pers. Comm.).51 The community efforts – the shared negotiations and shared deliberations – would be channeled into the tasks of an institutionally sanctioned individual, a bearer of “existing public concern” (Fairview CSR, 2011: 38, 28). “Existing public concern” thus takes on the appearance of a reified thing, which subjects can now assume is being handled by the stakeholder – in effect, for them instead of with them.  Such is the process that would occur with Water St. resident Ken Shaw. Like Denton, Shaw was also a ‘stakeholder’ – not for the Fairview Project, but the Community Liaison Committee, which the PRPA had invited him to join in 2014 (Shaw, Pers. Comm.). The solicitation to join a steering group for city-wide environmental concerns was an                                                51 There is of course the issue of habituation, e.g. the notion that people simply got used to the noise. But informal conservations I had with residents in 2014 and 2015 suggest that habituation was not the decisive factor here.  112  acknowledgment of Shaw’s knowledge and success in confronting environmental problems. A science instructor at the North Coast Community College (NCCS), Shaw was acutely aware of the neoliberal dynamics shaping his city, which had lately pulverized his community college and forced him into new administrative duties. He recognized EIA as a “tool for channeling public concerns into a format that only really serves the proponent” (Pers. Comm. Shaw), and had sought to contest the very legalities by which the noisy development along Water St. had been granted its regulatory exemptions.52 For the PRPA, converting Shaw into a stakeholder had the effect of reducing his autonomy, discouraging individual expression within legislatively bound stipulations. Shaw suspected as much – “it’s going to take up a lot of my time,” he told me over coffee at the Ocean View, “and you know damn well, they are not there to work out problems, they are there to run interference” (Shaw, Pers. Comm.) – but he needed resources to help him comprehend the regulatory terrain. As the sole bearer of “existing public concern” on Water St., Shaw was feeling socially isolated, and few of his neighbors possessed the level of sophistication he found necessary to confront the noise problem.   There are number of good critical studies of EIA which chime with the experiences I uncovered in Prince Rupert (Nadasdy, 2003; Li, 2015; Hoogeveen, 2016). Li suggests that the individuating process I observe comes with a corresponding cohesion in other social spheres: EIA “creates collaborative relationships among state agents, corporations, NGOs, and communities that strengthen the EIA’s claims of accountability while circumscribing the spaces for opposition to a proposed project,” she explains (Li, 2015: 220). As such, the political nature                                                52 See: Shaw, Letter to Andrew Gage, West Coast Environmental Law. (Note date and details).  113  of EIA cannot be gauged without returning to the animating context of neoliberalism, which has eroded many local regulatory protections, but cemented new partnerships between corporate interests and public resources (Peyton and Franks, 2015). The PRPA is no longer tethered to the city, as many residents I spoke to still believe, but operates within a “trans-governmental environmental network” (Gunningham, 2012) of industry officials, corporate auditors and private consultants. To encourage market-style growth, Canada’s governments (federal and provincial) do not “regulate” so much as “encourage” the PRPA to commit to “self-regulation,” which includes the generation of the “Baseline Noise Assessments” it would subcontract to its environmental consultants (e.g. Keystone Environmental). At the same time, the PRPA the port is under no direct obligation to take public concerns into account in managing development activities on port-controlled lands (Kirchoff, Garden, and Tsugi, 2014). Neither the federal or the provincial regulators, nor City Hall, nor First Nations for that matter, has a mechanism (e.g. a zoning by-law) to bring Port-related noise under its jurisdiction.53     Neoliberal environmental governance endows great epistemological authority to private environmental consultancies (Li, 2015). From what I can tell, none of the three consultancies the PRPA sub-contracts with – Keystone Environmental, Stantec, AECOM – would be encouraged to amalgamate their findings. Arguably, this would improve regulatory efficiency for the PRPA, by giving it a more systematic picture of local concerns and their relation to one another. But the proposition, enshrined into Canada’s EIA process, that legislative mechanisms exist for converting “unacceptable noise effects” into regulatory “revisions,” was never explored                                                53 Ken Shaw would address the state’s own incapacitations by freely providing his public comments and annotated materials to a grateful City Hall (Shaw, Pers. Comm.). 114  (Keystone Environmental, 2006, Section 8.3.2).  Instead, various “tweaks” would be made (Brown 2015), signaling the PRPA’s ‘responsiveness’ to resident concerns.54 A new sound intensity scale, ‘dBA,’ was utilized to better account for human hearting sensitivities to noise (PRPA 2011: 73). An inbound truck route identified as potentially noisy was re-routed to reduced likely disturbance (PRPA, 2011: iii). Over the course of these efforts, no public attempt was made to review the PRPA’s significance determinations, which continued to present “noise” as “not significant.”   Between 2007 and 2014, West End residents sent over 100 letters, emails, and pieces of supporting literature to the PRPA, as well as a range of government offices in Prince Rupert, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Ottawa.  One list, completed in 2008, collected 260 signatures from across the West End, and was presented directly to city council (in spite of the hesitations Denton and several others had about approach the municipality). “We would like to urgently request that City Council take the necessary steps to enact a bylaw to regulate the sounding of locomotive whistles at various crossings within the municipal limits of the city of Prince Rupert,” it stated (“Community Petition”, 2011a: 2).  In late 2011, Water Street residents presented their own petitions to resolve noise.  One petition, carrying 26 signatories, was addressed to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia (“Community Petition”, 2011b); a second petition, with 91 signatories, went to federal and provincial government agencies (“Community Petition”, 2011c). In 2014, Dodge Cove residents began their                                                54 Despite efforts in the West End and Water Street, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) largely ignored the noise complaints for the first several years of thir existence. Periodically, assuaging statements from high-ranking Port officials would appear in the newspaper. “We recognize it's hard to be enthusiastic about industrial development when troubled by nighttime noise or other disturbances,” wrote CEO Don Krusel (2014) in one. See:  115  own noise petitioning around aerial surveys for Aurora LNG, sending their concerns to the British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). Potentially revealing a unity of concerns and voices, the result of these engagements was a disaggregation of political energies along bureaucratic-institutional lines and processes. Each petition would be ranged into different state-sanctioned processes and websites; reified concerns particular to different noisy things.     (ii)  Informal             In Prince Rupert in the years of my study, the online sphere was a highly frequented space for discussion about industrial development. This should not be surprising: across North America, this same period (2007-2015) captures a key acceleration phase in the societalization of digital culture. Despite the wealth of insight on the broader trend (e.g. Dean 2009; Lovink 2011), there is a significant lack of work theorizing how social media and smart phones have transformed environmental governance in rural settings. There is nevertheless evidence that the increasing mediations of digital culture – WiFi would become common throughout the North Coast by 2009 – would impact social conduct in the region, particularly in the way local information would be stored and circulated (Halseth et al., 2016). I begin this section by considering a Prince Rupert community messaging board, Hacking the Mainframe, which had rapidly shifted from an occasional buy/sell depot into a complex staging ground for lengthy public diatribes about noise and other development issues. In terming this an ‘informal’ sphere, I mean to point out that Hacking the Mainframe does not have imprimatur of any local or municipal government. This does not preclude the state’s surreptitious involvement and influence, of course – and studies linking the internet to cultural logics of neoliberalism are 116  insightful for the ways they suggest the “information society” as a new bio-political goal within competitive Western Democracies (Dean, 2011; Haiven, 2014).    For some Prince Rupert residents, the internet could nevertheless be a tool of critical persuasion. To broaden awareness of the Pinnacle Pellet issue beyond his Water St. neighborhood, Ken Shaw created a website (, in May 2012, and his clearing-house about Pinnacle’s various transgressions received over 100 hits in the first month (a significant figure in a town of just over 12,000; Shaw, Pers. Comm.).  But such moments do not represent the “general pattern” I would observe. More persistently, Prince Rupert’s online debates would manifest de-politicizing tendencies. In discussions of noise on Hacking the Mainframe and Facebook (which I do not re-quote for proprietary reasons), the democratic desire to “have a voice” was routinely invoked, but largely as an undefined marker of something that happened by simply typing words. Online, we see the telltale signs of the pervasive “attitude” Lukács (1971) posits of a reified society, a society in which objectifying language works to separate users from the engagements to which they collectively belong. Online discussions of noise would frequently de-politicize political discourse, by implicating unwanted social relationships with the reproduction of analytically limiting categories of engagement and understanding, and by reifying other users as separate self-existing ‘avatars.’  Consider, for example, the vitriolic online response to the West End abatement campaigns. In early 2008, City Council entertained a delegation of West End residents seeking an ‘anti-whistling bylaw.’ The residents – which included Brian Denton, Dr. Philip Nel, and Gary Coons (a former representative on the BC municipal legislature for the North Coast) – had 117  hoped the by-law would apply compliance pressures to CN and the Port.  Their ultimately successful effort (ineffectual as a legal instrument), set off ripples of scorn from anonymously posting local residents, who derided the self-serving nature of West End politics.55 “I find this very amusing actually,” blogged ‘Ryan of Last’:   An Anti-whistle bylaw. ers Next the "residents in the area" will be complaining that the containare too loud when they are being loaded... or even that things are working too well, and they want the workers to stop working so hard,” (Ryan of Last, 2008).     ‘Independent’ was also unsympathetic:   Funny how people think, no whistles for three years, that’s what happens when there is no work, now there's work, trains are back, think back people Prince Rupert is here because of the railway, progress sometimes has draw-backs but that’s life. Yes train whistles are noisey but they are there for safety and until there is an order for anti-whistle zone they will remain.” (Independent, 2008).    ‘Princess of Power’:    Awww, poor little rich kids in the best part of town are getting their nerves rattled by train whistles!!!  I sure hope someone puts an end to it soon! (Princess of Power, 2008).   ‘bubbasteve735’:                                                  55 See: Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) (2012). Notice of Intent to Pass Whistle Cessation Resolution. Personal copy of Brian Denton.  118  First, they complain that there's nothing going on in this town, next, when there is something going on, and bringing money into the town, they complain about the noise...  Suck it up cupcake, if you don't like it... MOVE. I don't hear those noises on my end of town. (bubbasteve735, 2008).  The comments suggest an objectifying “attitude” (Lukács, 1971) towards the noise campaigners, who in all likelihood were not solicited for opportunities to respond to the accusations. Rather, the blog posters treated both the discussion topic (e.g. Train Whistles) and the assumed interlocutors as ‘things’ to be managed and positioned without consequence. Because these comments were buried on long discussion threads (in Hacking the Mainframe, or Facebook), for instance, the West End campaigners never learned the identities of the commenters, which were anyway objectified under a series of largely anonymous ‘avatars’ (e.g. ‘Ryan of Last’). When I alerted some West Enders to their existence, they responded with range of counter-accusations. Not only was it wrong to objectify them as “complainers,” all in the city were forsaking an opportunity to engage in politics, and “discuss the frustrations we are all feeling” (Denton. Pers. Comm.).  The West End noise campaign was an opportunity to engage in politics, in other words, but it was an opportunity thwarted by critics.  Bur West End residents were not against taking up suspicion-laden invectives themselves. “It is apparent,” Denton noted in an email to City Council (08/22/11), “there is a highly discretionary element in the decision of the operator to sound a locomotives whistle, with some being far more exuberant than others, perhaps taking pleasure from the disturbance they are creating in the middle of the night.” “Train drivers specifically seem to relish in constantly 119  sounding the siren beyond what is required and more frequently than what is required, even when there are no ferries in dock and all the ferry roads are closed,” West End resident Dr. Phillip Nel seconded (Nel, 2011). I am less interested in the purported truth of these accusations than in what they reveal about political discourse in Prince Rupert. From what I can determine, neither Denton nor Nel sought direct conservation with train drivers, who were very likely Prince Rupert residents themselves. Nor did they seek out the longshoremen who they accused of singling them out. In this way, they suggest the reified thought-patterns I have been concerned with throughout the chapter: socially-detached and objectifying postures, and pronouncements of others’ as ‘naturally’ disposed to certain behaviors.     Figure 3. 2 Meters off Water St., facing the downtown rail yard. Sept 2011. Photo: Ken Shaw. Used with permission.    In contemporary neoliberal society, writes Jonathan Crary (2013: 104), “reification has proceeded to the point where the individual has to invent a self-understanding [a means of 120  apprehending and evaluating their self-hood] that optimizes or facilitates their participation in digital milieus and speeds.”  In the non-stop marketplace of neoliberal capitalism, Crary observes, everyone needs an online presence, “to avoid social ‘irrelevance’ or professional failure” (2013: 104).56 In raising the theme of reification, Crary means to problematize how social media contributes to the experience of ‘self’ as a multiplicity of parts (consumer, job-seeker, partner etc.), which are progressively encroached upon and reworked by market logics (the proximity of “social irrelevance” and “professional failure” is telling in this regard). And yet even as websites like Hacking the Mainframe becomes filled with the noise of market supplication, they remain touted as sites for pursuing politics – or so their ‘hits’ and volumes of activity suggest. State-led EIA (discussed in the previous section) is increasingly mediated online too -- part of utopian effort to increase democracy by appealing to the supposed preferences of online citizen/customers (Barney, 2005). In both cases, political engagement has come to entail a detached clicking to a document ‘clearing house,57 downloading files to a personal computer, and responded on a personalized form.     For Brown (2015), disinterest and irrational outburst are both symptoms of a degrading political culture under neoliberal society. Insofar as it appears in the online sphere, a ‘thing-like’ noise, and the atomized social landscape to which it corresponds, would fuel both the vitriolic comportment of contemporary online discourse and the sense of resignation that nothing could                                                56 It is worth noting that Crary’s account – though preoccupied with urban space – holds considerable purchase to regional development areas too. As in this project, Crary takes from the Marx’s Grundrisse the idea of capitalism as a continual reordering of time, a series of “alignments of living temporalities with market needs” (79).   57 For the Aurora LNG, for example, see: Last accessed: July 23, 2017. 121  be done. It is possible to assemble a script that captures the malfunctioning public discourse routinized in Prince Rupert’s noise politics:  When do I get to make a comment? Why can’t I make a comment now, the noise is already a huge fucking problem?! (Nobels, Pers. Comm).   Once the assessment begins, public consultation plays an important role. You will be invited to learn more about the proposal and ask questions of the proponent…. You will be provided with the opportunity to provide feedback. (Angus, Pers. Comm.)  Hey Max, I wrote to CN and then they wrote back saying I should write the proponent. Who is the proponent? Is that Pinnacle or the Port? (S. Brown, Pers. Comm.)   We’re now getting into public comment period. Or getting close anyway, and I would say that through the next month we will be looking to try and engage the public around the design of the terminal and share lot of information about the design and what we’ve done to reduce dust emissions, reduce noise and reduce the visual impact. (Reidsma, quoted in Thomas, 2012).  I’m not going through another one of those things [EIA processes] again. It’s just another rubber stamp. Forget it! (Allison, Pers. Comm.).    These statements are suggestive of both the failures and the stubborn commitment to what Dean (2009) calls “communicative capitalism.” This is the ideological claim, encouraged by 122  governments and telecommunications companies, that online communications technologies model a democratic politics because communicative exchanges automatically become political contributions. Even when laced with negative experiences, many residents continued to use Facebook and Hacking the Mainframe as alternative spaces for political discussion (including around noise). And yet they routinely failed to offer progressive counterparts to the alienating technical discourse of EIA. For noise-addled Prince Rupert residents, “Hacking The Mainframe” behaved instead as a sink: a place to deposit the stresses and frustrations governments agencies no longer saw fit to bear or even acknowledge under austerity conditions.   I want to consider the question of class, only hinted at so far in this chapter. Evident in the Hacking the Mainframe comments I discussed previously is the presence of deeper challenges to debating political issues. As Bull and Back (2016) note, the ability to declaim noise a problem routinely depends upon political relations of property and class (we should also add colonial privilege). Class makes possible the social circulation of noise issues, and only to certain individuals. According to one Prince Rupert resident – who I found by searching the corners of Hacking the Mainframe, and then asked to clarify their statements over email – many West End residents had appealed for property re-evaluations in 2012 and 2013. There was, the resident (who insisted on anonymity) told me, a “concern” that property values lay at the bottom of the West End noise abatement campaign, which the resident saw as a class privilege. “That’s all well and good if you are retired,” they explained to me. “You just get to pay less taxes [e.g. in step with the property devaluation as generated by an assessor] and it isn’t really the [noise] you are 123  concerned after all” (Anon, Pers. Comm.).58 Though minor, this concern is significant. The residents’ complaint was an opportunity for political discussion – a chance to link noise complaints to the broader tensions cleaving portions of the city.  It provided an opportunity for a better collective understanding of what was actually going on in Prince Rupert.    Environmental concerns don’t always follow class lines. This is evidenced in the present case with the lower middle-class Water St. neighborhood, whose residents were just as upset about noise as their wealthy West End neighbors.  Nevertheless, in North American cities, anti-noise positions are routinely classist or racist in function – in the ways they articulate with related issues (property values, job type, social privileges, etc.). No better example exists than acoustic ecology in the 1970s, when a white male music theorist named R. Murray Shafer complained about “acoustic slums” in Vancouver’s racialized city core and recommended respite through listening to a wild and untrammeled Canadian North (Akiyama, 2014). The point worth emphasizing here is that for the Prince Rupert communities whose members self-identified as left and progressive (the vast majority of residents I spoke to were NDP voters; many had been members of one of the local fishing unions too),59 there was a persistent unwillingness to reach across social or even household lines – at least at the mundane level of everyday interaction.   For Lukács, a corresponding and telltale passivity often syncopates with the reified “attitude.” Such ‘passivity’ was brought home to me in the cyclical flare-up and withering of                                                58 Joy Thorkelson, a City Councillor with deep knowledge of Prince Rupert politics further clarified the resident’s attitude to me: “People on Graham, many of them are concerned about quality of life – but it’s the quality of their life. They relied on the waterfront but now its quiet and they don’t care because they are retired” (Thorkelson, Pers. Comm.).  59 See Ommer 2007 for further corroboration on left voting patterns in the North Coast and Prince Rupert. 124  noise abatement efforts around Water St., and specifically with members with whom I became linked through email discussion threads. Unlike West End residents, Water St. residents could not enjoy the privilege of appealing for property assessments – most of them had mortgages and little time to engage in non-work activities. Despite the exchange of emails (less voluminous than in the West End, though from what I was able to gather in my research, still considerable), and legitimate concerns (worse than anywhere else in town, in my estimation), Water St. residents were unable to build their complaints into a collective campaign. Complaints would rage, and stories of sleepless nights would be exchanged over email, on the street, or at one of the several informal gatherings I organized. Several times, especially in the middle of my ethnography, a longer email thread would form, with a few exchanges building towards the possibility of another petition. Then, just days later, the communiques slowed. Some residents attributed this to the uneven periodicity of the noise itself: “We complain about noise, and then it stops and we stop complaining,” Frances Kavelec observed to me (Kavelec, Pers. Comm.). As Michelle Murphy’s work on ‘sick building syndrome’ shows, it is very difficult to affirm the existence of an invisible environmental hazard without the constant work of materialization (generating surveys, gathering medical reports, etc.).  With far less time and resources than the West End, many Water St. residents simply lacked the time to document what they experienced on a daily basis, except through informal emails written late at night.60                                                  60 I also found some intermittent, through highly significant information about how institutional responses to the Water St. residents were not only classed but deeply gendered too. Frances Kavelec’s unsuccessful effort to garner support at City Hall prompted an openly sexist dismissal from then-Mayor Jack Mussalem, as video-taped proceedings for the Prince Rupert City Council (Sept. 19, 2011) reveal. 125  My claim is not that Water St. residents should be faulted for a lack of political follow through. The unraveling of their abatement efforts was shaped by both a class politics as well as the generalized political “attitude” they took up in their online discourse:   We talk, we complain, we protest. We make groups on Facebook. Activity becomes passivity, our stuckness in a circuit, which is then mourned as the absence of ideas or even the loss of the political itself, which is then routed through yet another plea for democracy, although it doesn’t take a genius to know that the real problem is capitalism. (Dean, 2012: 66).   For Brown, the “persistence of politics amid the destruction of public life, combined with the marketization of the political sphere,” are signal effects of neoliberal policy (2015: 39). They are also part of what makes such contemporary political formats so unappealing – “full of ranting and posturing, emptied of intellectual seriousness” (ibid). This section finds that in the Prince Rupert context, we must also take seriously the reifications which populate informal spaces of politics. Even as they launched indictments at government failures to deliver “citizen engagement” via EIA, many residents accepted its individuating processes. In so doing, they accepted a set of reifying logics. Other residents, seeking to avoid these structures, turned to the online spaces for conducting politics. They likewise found those spaces unable to produce better politics, offering little more than opportunities to rant and circulate incompletely digested ‘facts’.     126  (iii) Everyday      In this section, I consider the role a reified conception of history – Prince Rupert’s history, specifically – played to the noise abatement campaigns.  Because the larger Prince Rupert community failed to take seriously the noise complaints about train whistles, many campaigners withdrew, or grew increasingly cynical. In place of the present political will, they constructed a conception of a past political will, expressive of what Brown (1999) calls left melancholy. As I demonstrate below, this ‘will’ was not be a galvanizing force, one capable of producing progressive political action.  It undercut political action.  Past political will was blended with a broader imagined past-ness and made into a thing, reified. The will was gone.  It could be only mourned and grieved, the object of sadness, paralysing action to change the present.     Figure 3. 3 Sarah Brown’s house, the Fairview Terminal in background. Dodge Cove. May 2015. Photo: Max Ritts  127  This turn to left melancholy about cannot be understood without recognizing deeper conceptions of crisis among Prince Rupert’s political left – the collapse of its unions, the perceived betrayals of BC’s NDP around fishing, the decline of alliances between communities up and down the coast (Menzies, 2002; Ommer, 2007).  In Prince Rupert between 2007-2015, this perceived crisis found some succor in the problem of “noise,” and the frustrations of campaigners for noise abatement.  At the center of Prince Rupert's left melancholy is a reified historical object, a political will or ‘Left,’ that in the form of “local labor” and “community ties” was presumed to hold all the solutions to its present problems.  Of course, left melancholy is not a notion that springs fully-formed from the mouths of those who adhere to it (Brown, 1999). It is an amorphous if durable sentiment. Like reification, it is a “general patterning” braided across the sentiments, words. and actions of subjective actions (Feenberg, 2014). It gathers and includes the ‘wounded attachments’ theme I noted earlier (e.g. Des Nobels on the PRPA: “Now that they are established, they don’t feel one iota of need to respond to us and our concerns, even though we bent over backwards to get them off the ground!”). Extending from Brown (1999) into a more sonic geographical register, I contend that Prince Rupert’s left melancholy, and the reified conception of the past to which it corresponds, emerged from the quotidian soundscape of its everyday life. In the Dodge Cove neighborhood in particular, “noise” tapped a diffuse anxiety emerging in reaction to the ascendance of the Port and the loss of a post-war economy built on fishing. It converted this anxiety into a popular animus towards a morally deficient regulatory state, and the PRPA to which it was indissolubly allied.  If “noise” could be studiously avoided at Cetacea Lab by turning down the dial, it was an inescapable reality on the pathway leading to the dock in Dodge Cove. It thus resonated with a specific affective condition, itself energized by the failures of noise abatement.  128   To engage this claim here, I proceed with close attention to the sensory, to listening – a set of act through which left melancholy would be socially mediated. “There was nothing quiet about a boatshed,” Dodge Cove resident Lou Allison told me one day, when I asked her one why she didn’t complain about noise back when Prince Rupert was a busy fishing town. “Yes,” she continued, “there was a lot of noise, back in the day, but it was a different kind of noise than this. We knew who was making the noise” (Allison, Pers. Comm.). Allison’s ability to specify a “different kind of noise” depends upon a particular conception of Prince Rupert’s past. This static object supports a particular cleaving of sensory associations, what Ranciere (1999) calls a “distribution of the sensible.” In effect, the “different kind of noise” was a “good” noise because it articulated with a past progressive political will; with local labor, eco-consciousness, and “slow-paced living” – all sanctified in Dodge Cove’s Official Community Plan (SQRCD: vi).  “Knowing who was making the noise,” even if involves clamorous, ringing, industrial sounds, suggests that noise tolerance is ameliorated by the intermediation of local labor. For Allison, those relations (“slow-paced living”, local labor, etc.) are no longer audible in present-day noise. Thus, for her, present-day noise holds a depreciated social character.   My argument risks excessive schematization, but it underscores the important point that Allison is not comparing existing sounds. Much like others I would speak to in Dodge Cove, Allison imaginatively associates through sound to project two ontologically distinct social contexts; two separate versions of Prince Rupert. Present day “noise” is preferred not because it sounds ‘better’ than past noise (the latter is unavailable for comparison), but because it corresponds to a Prince Rupert imagined as ‘better.’ Left melancholy depends on reified 129  thinking, on the ability to bracket present day noise as an external, disconnected thing, separate from a past resounding with (apparently) fulsome social relationships. The irony of Allison’s construction is that the very history presumed to correspond to the de-reified social past (which includes its “different kind of noise”) is itself reified. The imagined sound is symptomatic of a backward-looking politics, anaesthetized to the present. This is the meaning of Brown’s left melancholy in the present study.    My support for this claim emerged gradually, through detailed participant observation (including eight visits between 2013-2015; and two month-long stays in 2015 and 2016), and conversation (which included discussion of the processes laid out in the first two sections of this chapter). It also emerged through investigations I could only conduct after establishing a rapport with these subjects. In 2013, I circulated a noise questionnaire across the three neighborhoods, asking residents in each to compare present-day noise with past experiences of noise (Ritts, 2013, See Appendix B). In Dodge Cove, the returns suggested a community with a considerable interest in affirming Allison’s “different kind of noise.” This included the humming sawmill, the clanging boat shed, the ‘tap, tap, tap’ of corking mallets.  “When you hear outboards,” one respondent noted, “you grab your binoculars to see who’s doing what” (Ritts, 2013). “The sound of the chainsaw, that’s the sound of fall, ready with firewood, that is a soothing sound!” (Ritts, 2013).   Insight also came from sound-walks (one in each Prince Rupert neighborhood across Oct 2013, Feb 2014, June 2014, Oct 2014; with the exception of Water St., where organizing efforts were unsuccessful). Walking with residents from the dock to the forested summit known 130  colloquially as CBC Hill, I discovered a community with considerable skill in placing the sounds of yesteryear: the power saws at the (now-abandoned) Wahl family boat shed, which had rung out in the Cove for three generations; the shouts of school children, who played basketball games on the wooden-plank court back when the community still had a school. In Dodge Cove, the potential for the sound walk “to preserve, present and modulate site-specific memories” was richly apparent (Gallagher and Prior, 2013: 8). Residents implicated Allison’s “different kind of noise” with the natural rhythms of the local ecology, along with the sense of stability and rootedness they offered. All were embedded within a larger set of social relationships that defined the pre-neoliberal civic life, when residents like Des Nobels lived off the land and blockaded American ferry boats.  They included relationships to nature, birdlife in particular (Whitehouse, 2015). From Dodge Cove residents, I learned about the calls of robins and other migratory birds in the spring; the sandpipers, jays and herons in summer; the loons, ducks, seagulls and geese in fall; and in the winter, the crows and loons.   In discussions after the completion of these sound-walks, residents made it clear that they were aggrieved by “the everyday noise” of “the Port.” This routinely shifted into a wider critique. The Port, one of the few local beneficiaries of neoliberal development in Prince Rupert (Halseth, 2015), was against their vision of community life. Prince Rupert’s dominant geological feature, Mount Hays, has a natural amphitheater effect. For Dodge Cove residents, noise generated from the Fairview Terminal bounces off Mount Hays and directly across the harbor toward them; a low-frequency hum that enfolds the village in ripples of industrial sound. Sudden volleys of noise from across the harbor – crashing containers or whistling trains – routinely collapsed the distance between the Port and the bucolic surroundings as well. “There is a big 131  difference between the noise we heard before [the terminal] and what we hear now,” Carol Brown told me. “Noise was seasonal then. You could set your clock to it if you needed to” (Brown, Pers. Comm.). Other residents would likewise draw distinctions between “local” sounds, like birds, and the “anonymous” sounds emanating from the Port.  If wanted sound was cyclical and natural, unwanted sound (e.g. noise) was vague and erratic; it “clashe[d] with expectation” (Krause, 2012: 158). Port noise was not only expressive of an uncivil institution, it was unwilling to abide by the natural rhythms of local identity and place: “They [the trains] have to move whenever the Port decides it makes economic sense for them to move,” noted Doug Bodnar (Pers. Comm.). “And that’s that. So when they’re idle the couplings are loose, but when trains pulls the first coupling, a chain reaction goes bang! bang! bang! bang! And I hear that no matter where I am [at home].”   More acutely than in other neighborhoods, “noise” in Dodge Cove fed the “wounded attachments” of a community defined by an identity it no longer felt it could ‘sense’ in the present (Brown, 1995). “People don’t come together socially as much as they used to,” Des Nobels explained in an interview with Northword Magazine (Riley, 2016), “because talk inevitably turns to LNG and people are exhausted by it.” Writing in the Aurora LNG comments section, his wife Wendy Brook confirmed that helicopter noise was preventing the enactment of local social relations (Aurora LNG, 2017). Noise was both a source of fatigue and the cause of a growing inability to communicate. A theme begins to emerge: left politics is not moribund because communities like Dodge Cove lacks formal structures for solidarity-building, it is moribund because people have trouble ‘feeling’ themselves as participatory political agents, e.g. in their sensate bodies and community relations. “We’ve got LNG, we’ve got the Port lying to 132  the government, we’ve got the government lying to us, there’s no more labor movement for us and for all you young people. And on top of that, I’ve got that fucking noise every day” (Pers. Comm. 06/08/13). “I’m now 63 years old and think that I should be able to retire in the fashion I’ve envisioned for many years” Tommy Spiller explained in an opinion piece to the Northern View (18/02/15): “When the terminal was in the planning stage we were assured the noise levels in operation would be kept to an acceptable minimum … lies.”   As Anderson (2016: 749) notes, “neoliberalisms happen as/in the midst of dynamic structures of feeling that are more than neoliberal.” In Dodge Cove, these structures of feeling were conditioned by many things: work histories, local ecologies, general experiences of ageing. Perceptions of noise would mediate some of the ways these forces would appear in daily life (hearing loss referencing a sense of ageing, for example). But most of all, my findings suggest, noise would act as a measure for the way Dodge Cove residents would come to see their contemporary Prince Rupert – with its neoliberal rollback of welfare state institutions, its social tensions, and its Port hegemon; a Prince Rupert fundamentally unlike the one they desired and could still recall. An “attitude” of left melancholy may give some solace to those who adopt it, but it prevents action and change. It leads to withdrawal and detachedness. Capturing the mood of many was Lou Allison: “We rallied with Save Our Seas, Gwaii Hannas and Lyell Island, Friends of Porcher Island. Enbridge in 2012. I’ve never rallied so much in my life! But I am losing steam. I am turning 60 this year. I have a huge garden, which for me in this town is a political statement. I am tired. And these bullies don’t stay down” (Allison, Pers. Comm).    133  One resident I spoke to, Cindy Haugan, had decided not to involve herself in her neighborhood’s noise-abatement campaign. She didn’t understand what her neighbours were contesting, since the Fairview area had always been noisy with train and lumber activity: “The trains were there first, the neighborhood came second. People just have forgotten what it was like to have a bustling Rupert waterfront is all,” she wrote in an email (Haugan, Pers. Comm.).  Haugan’s words points to the dubious historicity of left melancholy. There is, indeed, both archival and anecdotal material suggesting that Prince Rupert was consistently dominated by industrial noise over the course of its post-war settler history. The tail end of BC’s “long boom” (late 1960s – early 1970s), resounded in Rupert as a flow of fishing, lumber and grain commodities exports moving in and out of the waterfront, a section of town once again noisy with industrial sounds (Hayter, 2000).1 “Oh definitely, the waterfront was a going place,” Joy Thokelson, a city councilor and union organizer, noted to me. “There was lots of shunting. Canneries. Lots of fish brought in and exported by rail car. Northland Steamship docks, long-shore noises…” (Thorkelson, Pers. Comm.). “There were train horns, ferry horn blasts and even tug-boats [to] liven things up,” wrote one blogger in Hacking the Mainframe (Thompson, 2010).  Perhaps these sounds were intuited as “local noise” and appreciated as such, but perhaps local residents, staring down political struggles with deceptive logging multi-nationals (Rajala, 2005), a union culture frequently divided into “us and them” (Menzies, 2002), and the ongoing oppression of women and local First Nations population in the canneries, associated them with far less salutary visions of the city’s political will.       Across the settler history of Prince Rupert, the relation between noise and local politics is fundamentally inconsistent. Industrial noise ebbs and flows in step with expanding and 134  contracting resource local economy, but its political valence changes.61 Only a decade before Denton raised his concerns about train whistle noise, many residents regarded train whistles as elegiac reminders of a different time. In the 1990s, local writer Phyllis Bowman reflected on the growing silence that cut across Prince Rupert’s core: “That whole section of waterfront overgrown with wildflowers and weeds is like a huge graveyard of what used to be a busy spot – with dozens of boxcars being shunted about by puffing engines and hundreds of workers busy at their chores in the ships and roundhouse and stations, with boats of all sizes and descriptions coming and going at the long docks 24 hours a day, every day” (Bowman, 1997: unpaginated). Ray Gardiner’s (1996) epigraph in the Prince Rupert Daily News is similar: “I fondly remember as a child on a cold winter’s night listening to a train recede into the distance, I tried many times to stay awake until the sound completely faded. I don’t think I ever succeeded.” In these examples, train whistles tell a different story of local community and economy than the one I began this chapter with. The fact that local sentiments about train whistles could so quickly change in Prince Rupert has much to do with the disorienting effects of neoliberalism: its ravaging of trusted institutions and erecting of new ones, as well as its alienating governance                                                61 Two of the oldest individuals I interviewed, Don Scott and Bill McNish (in their 70s and 80s respectively), could recall the noise of common steam locomotives –the N-5-a Consolidations model and the H-10-a Ten Wheelers – carrying cargo-loads of halibut and salmon along the Rupert waterfront in the 1950s (McNish, Pers Comm.; Scott, Pers. Comm.). The train’s signature whistle sound altered with the arrival of diesel engines beginning in 1960s, which created less rattle, chuff and steam hiss. Other local sound-marks around the waterfront would have included the ‘din’ of labor around the waterfront canneries – e.g. North Pacific Cannery, Babcock Fish Plant, Atlin Fish Plant – each of which would have featured up to a thousand workers at a time. Local residents visiting the waterfront on a busy Monday would have heard the engines of incoming gillnet fishing boats, the trains, and perhaps the punctuated slap of ice being thrown into the cars to keep fish cold for continental travel. Historical sources and personal anecdotes agree that Prince Rupert’s soundscape had begun to shift by the mid 1980s, with the rationalization and de-centralization of the halibut industry. The volume of trains coming into the waterfront lessened as increased competition from low-cost production regions lead to cannery closures and firm amalgamations throughout the North Coast (Large, 1973; Hick, 2011; Rajala, 2005; Ommer, 2007). At the same time, restructuring in the forestry sector beginning in the late 1980s deprived many in the North Coast of seasonal work. As production activities shifted in-land and south, the volume of local barges to Rupert’s pulp mill – ultimately shuttered in 2001 – decreased markedly (Rajala, 2005).    135  structures. Perhaps more fundamentally, it has to do with a politics of left melancholy. This is a politics which promises some measure of all the good that has been lost, but in reifying history, occludes the ambiguities that make history a site of critical introspection.      Conclusion      In 2012, five years after Brian Denton first voiced his concerns, the Port, in concert with the City, and the support of CN and Maher Terminals, announced completion of the paperwork needed to eliminate train whistles at particular city crossings, entitled “New Rail Signals Enhance Safety and Reduce Whistling” (PPRA, 2012) The installation of lighting signals two years later would result in the cessation of complaints in the West End, as Denton noted to me (Denton, Pers. Comm.). It was not the residents’ painstakingly detailed critiques or environmental concerns that forced these actions, and nor was it fiduciary responsibility. Rather, it had to do with “social capital” – the instrumental collective capacity celebrated by neoliberal governance (Brown, 2015). The persistence of noise complaints from the well-heeled West End led the PRPA to perceive a potential threat to its community support-level, which it defined as “social capital”. By 2012, noise had generated a sufficient “reputational risk” to arouse institutional action.  Joy Thorkelson explains: “Atlin and Graham [both pertain to street-names on the West End] have the doctors and when the doctors threaten to leave, [they] started taking it more seriously. The Port is very concerned with its public image and works hard to appear just. So, the port finally got around to solving it” (Thorkelson, Pers. Comm.).  The PRPA’s decision to intervene in the train whistle issue was cloaked in the performance of good stewardship. The decision satisfied some residents – particularly those in the West End. But what would appear to 136  be a victory for the city, was not. Noise would continue to ring out along Water Street, and in Dodge Cove, where it was less politically “risky.”    Why, in the end, did certain residents embrace noise as a site for politics? Certainly, because “unwanted sounds” assailed them, and tinted their emotional lives with unwanted anxieties. But the central claim here is that they politicized noise because it appeared to make available avenues for politics that were otherwise unavailable. In a community bracing for development, caught up in the promissory hype of proponent meetings and civic planning, noise was something to latch onto. It was a way of “sensing changes” (Parr, 2009), of objectifying the truth that development is happening.  By entraining others to “feel the noise,” residents could share the frustrations they felt about development. They could generate the “affect of feeling political” (Berlant, 2011: 224), and translate from personal experience to broader social demands. But as they pursued their critiques, this broader ‘social’ was routinely obscured. This did not happen because residents stopped caring about it, or stopped seeking restitution when their demands were unmet. It happened, because they were forced to negotiate through bureaucracies and communications cultures entrenched within their social milieu. They did not move “beyond the correct calculation of the possible outcome of the sequence of events… by bringing ‘other’ laws to bear” (Lukács, 1971: 98).  Their efforts did not reify “noise,” so much as their own capacities for politics.   This chapter has considered relations of noise, neoliberalism, and reification; focusing on the sensory domain as a means of connecting the three. Using noise abatement as its example, it has argued that social practices – which include neoliberal bureaucratic procedures, patterns of 137  social communication, and listening practices – establish a world in which “reified things appear” (Feenberg, 2015: 6). Perhaps noise was simply too minor a political issue to articulate across Prince Rupert. It nevertheless gathered considerable human agencies, energies which might have been articulated to other local struggles. Its local political importance thus lies ultimately in a re-channeling function, in the way it diverted people from bigger issues. As such, and against efforts that would romanticize noise as an ineffable site of rupture and contestation (Hegarty, 2007), the present instance is a cautionary tale. The sonic may well be a resource for discovering a “satisfying sense” (Berlant, 2011), but it can also be a site for the formation of a blinkered politics.  Routinely, the noise abatement efforts obscured deeper issues – issues of growing class inequality, change state and society relations, shifts in local environmental governance – all of which were themselves expressive of neoliberal policy and industrial development. In Prince Rupert, the unwanted sounds residents sought to contest emerged as material aspects of the alienated power of neoliberalism – and its seeming autonomy over the life of their community.  138  CHAPTER 4 -  OCEAN NOISE ON THE NORTH COAST  In the spring of 2014, Canada’s federal government shifted Pacific humpback whales from the “Threatened” category under its Species at Risk Act (SARA) to “Special Concern”. The decision was encouraging, insofar as it suggested that humpback whale populations had returned to healthy levels. There were, however, some caveats. By placing the animals under “Special Concern”, the Canadian state rescinded its duties to protect their “critical habitat”. As well, the decision came just before a deadline requiring a state-appointed review board (the Joint Review Panel or “JRP”) to submit its evaluation of the environmental impacts of a controversial shipping project on Canada’s West Coast, the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline (Enbridge, 2010). For environmental groups and scientists tracking the Enbridge issue (which included researchers at Cetacea Lab, and their benefactors in the WWF and Save Our Seas), the humpback whale down-listing coincided suspiciously with growing concerns about ocean noise, a marine-ecological threat which scientists of various institutional backgrounds were trying to address - some for the first time. Because of the down-listing, the JRP panel was no longer obliged to consider Canada’s requirement to protect the whales from the “acoustical impacts” of shipping.  This chapter is about the science, regulation, and politics of ocean noise (anthropogenic underwater sound). Compared to its complicated and still-expanding list of biological impacts (Williams et al., 2015b), ocean noise’s sources are relatively clear. Commercial shipping is responsible for more than 75% of the world’s ocean noise (Gillespie, 2016), and estimates suggest that shipping may have raised the ocean’s sound level 20 decibels (dB) over the past half 139  century, effectively a doubling every decade since 1950 (Ross, 1976).62 On the North Coast, projections for a “coming boom” in commercial shipping (Heise and Barrett-Lennard, 2008:1), have lead scientists to warn of unprecedented potential impacts to noise-sensitive marine animals—and in particular, the region’s endangered whale populations (IFAW, 2016; IWC, 2007).2 Despite an international scientific consensus about the problem and growing public pressures from environmentalists across North American, there has been little effort to restrict the movements of noisy ships. In 2017, Canada remains without any regulatory requirements for ocean noise emissions. Instead, a massive international apparatus, comprising innovative technologies, novel measurement schemes, and complex institutional configurations, has emerged to regulate ocean noise. Central to many of these efforts are whales, the political delegates of ocean noise “risk”. Sound studies scholar Mara Mills (2010) uses the term “assistive pretext” to describe how deaf persons have historically served as justification for research funding and technologies made for the benefit of hearing persons. The term is suggestive of how the acoustically mediated claims of science can serve elite interests. “Assistive pretext” also describes a moment in the political regulation of ocean noise I focus on here, one that reveals the purposeful role of animals in state-sanctioned renovations of capitalist social relations (Collard 2014).  Here, I deliver a Gramsci-inspired critique of the normalizations and modernizations of ocean noise regulation being wrought by science, state and politics. Gramsci was acutely interested in the dynamic and social nature of scientific research, and his writings affirm                                                62 Underwater noise from commercial ships is largely generated by propeller cavitation, which typically produces noise at the 50–150 Hz frequency range, but can extend up to 10,000 Hz. See Ross (1976). 140  science’s powers and ambitions. At the same time, Gramsci was keen to observe how, as a fundamentally human enterprise, science is always shaped by determinate social contexts—such as the North Coast. Through ocean noise, an international program of scientific research has emerged not simply in accordance with legal duties and legitimacy concerns, but in connection with new opportunities for the commercialization of ocean science as well: new tools and revenue flows, but also new relationships, and ways of conceiving and mitigating marine risks. This work is shifting a socially contestable industrial effluent (e.g. ocean noise) into a set of expert-defined risks threatening shipping lanes and animal habitats. It is contributing to a logic of depoliticization, well observed in other fora of contemporary eco-politics (e.g. Swyngedouw, 2010, 2015). As such, ocean noise science has bearing on the political process of hegemony, particularly as hegemony relates to capital’s search for sustainable growth trajectories in marine space (While et al. 2004).  The argument proceeds as follows. It begins with an overview of Gramsci’s writings on science, focusing on the relation Gramsci drew between science and hegemony. It then charts the evolution of international scientific study into ocean noise, emphasizing a growing mismatch between a burgeoning science of biological impact and protracted institutional efforts to establish an appropriate regulatory structure. Although this chapter is largely couched at the level of the international, it returns repeatedly to the audio-politics of ocean noise in the North Coast.  Through examples drawn from this region, I show how capital is benefiting from emerging regulatory gaps, and channeling scientific activity into technological fixes, acoustic monitoring, and risk-related goods and services. In the conclusion, I consider how a re-politicization of ocean noise relates to Gramsci’s vision of a science that would serve a more progressive hegemony 141  (Boothman, 1995). Support for my claims is drawn from interviews with 25 informants familiar with ocean noise study in the North Coast, as well as policy literatures and scientific papers.  Gramsci, Science, and Politics  The question of how to ensure environmentally safe shipping on the North Coast – recently vouchsafed in Ottawa’s $1.5 billion ocean protection (Smart 2017) – has been a productive one for science. Over the last five years, ocean noise has inspired a raft of scientific studies on underwater sound propagation and the applicability of new sensing tools; and it has driven the creation of new collaborative relationships and team-building initiatives as well. Efforts in Canada are developing alongside similar undertakings in the United States and much of Northern Europe (e.g. NOAA, 2016; Van der Graaf, 2012). They are likewise galvanized by growing concerns about ocean noise, as reflected in new international conservation policies, environmental certification schemes, and ship quieting technologies (IMO, 2014; Nowacek and Southall, 2016; IWC, 2007). Among the state regulators, shipping proponents, and environmental groups who work in the North Coast, there is a consensus that science must inform attempts to repair a rapidly degrading marine-acoustic environment. At the same time, these actors confront the possibility that scientific discoveries could either support or unsettle their established operating procedures. The upshot is a set of competing institutional efforts to manage the discourse surrounding ocean noise research, particularly as it pertains to marine mammals and shipping. Directed by conflicting calls for the expansion, re-rerouting, and cessation of large vessel traffic on the North Coast, scientists under a variety of institutional affiliations are working to the acceptable limits of ocean noise exposure for acoustically-142  sensitive whale populations – a highly challenging process owing to a diversity of species-types, histories of impact, and underwater sounding conditions (NRC, 2005; Williams et al., 2015b).  Unlike many Marxists of his day, Gramsci deeply respected the pursuits of science. He admired scientific methods, the force of scientific discoveries, and he saw in the universalizing claims of science a metaphor for the realization of proletarian hegemony (e.g. 11, §37; FS: 290–292; see also Thomas 2009a). It is clear that science must play a role in devising solutions to ocean noise impacts, whether through the development of new ship quieting technologies, providing the means to negotiate and study a hostile marine context, or simply understanding the nature of the problem (Lehman 2013). But while Gramsci respects science, he also recognizes that science participates in hegemonic projects. Science contributes to establishing consent among competing social groups by disproving alternative worldviews, creating an assenting populace, buttressing elite economic interests, or inaugurating transformations in human-nature relations (e.g. 11, §36; FS 286–290). As I explore within the context of ocean noise, science is now drawing scientists into a set of practices promising the capitalist-led pacification of an unruly marine nature.  From a Gramscian perspective, the central question to pose at the outset is how does this scientific activity contribute to the process of hegemony? Hegemony refers to the domination of a society by a ruling class, which manipulates the culture of that society so that its ruling-class worldview becomes accepted (Thomas 2009). Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks—and in particular, Notebook 11—observe various ways in which the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values maintained by science can inform hegemony. In the present context, we can discern a set of 143  consolidating relationships between nominally “scientific” and more self-evidently “hegemonic” interests and activities. Ocean noise science is participating in the normalization of market-friendly concepts like “risk” (Dempsey 2013) and “sustainability” (Swyngedouw 2007). It is supporting a burgeoning economy of data analytics (Gabrys 2016). And it is cementing new relationships between business elites and state actors who have formed elaborate partnerships to address a seemingly arcane issue (Mirowski 2009; Moore et al. 2011).  In a lucid exposition, Peter Thomas (2009, 28) suggests hegemony might be understood as “the process” of “the constitution of the political”. Hegemony names the logic, Thomas argues, by which practices, ideas, and institutions come to define what “politics” is and can be about. This is instructive for my purposes here. What is crucial is that ocean noise science proceed as a largely depoliticized solution to an ecological problem. Through the proliferation of risk, the emergence of data analytics, and the “triple helix” partnerships, engagements with an ecological problem can serve the maintenance of hegemony. At the same time, a patently political source issue—noisy, environmentally unsustainable shipping— can be sidelined. Gramsci rejects claims to the “neutral” objectivity of science. For him, the “objective existence of so-called external reality” (11, §17; SPN 440– 446), is always the “subjective” reality of collective human labor. Today, when the “neutrality” of science holds significant justificatory power in technocratic decision-making (e.g. Ferguson, 1994), this insight is crucial. The hegemonic “constitution” of a depoliticized technoscience is what is at stake in the ocean noise issue. It is the politics of ocean noise as it is largely understood today.  144  The central actor presiding over the regulation of ocean noise, the state is intimately involved in managing the value-free appearance of hegemonic science (Robertson and Wainwright 2013).  For decades, the Canadian Navy tracked levels of anthropogenic ocean noise in the North Coast for the insights it might yield about enemy submarines (see Ritts and Shiga 2016). For Ross Chapman, a former naval officer and currently a professor of oceanography at the University of Victoria, the issue barely registered as worthy of public concern, at least from an environmental standpoint (Chapman, Pers. Comm.).63 Over the past 10 years, however, Canada has confronted demands coming from social groups newly concerned with rising ocean noise on the North Coast: conservation groups like the WWF and Greenpeace; energy proponents; First Nations concerned with the impacts to the culturally valued whale species; lobbies for “green” shipping; and different government agencies (e.g. DFO and Transport Canada). Its ability to present a form of science that receives social consent is one of its crucial legitimacy tools. But the unruly collective noted here reveals hegemony as an unstable, fundamentally unfinished process. In introducing Mill’s concept of “assistive pretext”, I mean to identify the importance of whales, who affirm the multispecies character of ocean noise politics. As Moore (2015) and others have argued, capitalism works by organizing work as a multispecies process: by harvesting the energies and resources from non-humans. If environmentalists tend to   instrumentalize whales for the sounds that whales make, ocean noise scientists tend to focus on the sounds that whales hear. Whales’ ability to hear (and be harmed through sound) makes the objectification of ocean noise possible. As animate sonic media, they are inscription devices making visible what is otherwise invisible. Whales are nevertheless capable of disrupting                                                63 Many of the Navy’s ‘baseline’ reports about ocean noise, collected in the 1950s and 1960s, remain hidden away in the storage rooms and basements of the Department of National Defense (DND) (Pers. Comm. Chapman). 145  scientific expectations – as the present study shows. In addition to whales, environmentalists, and scientists, a suite of other actors—science popularizers, consultants, environmental lawyers—are also important to this story. Insofar as “the whole of science is tied to the needs, the life, the activity of man” (11, §17; FS 290–292), there is always the potential for a new science that can re-direct ocean noise research toward socially progressive ends.  Ocean Noise Emerges   Although scientific interest in the biological effects of ocean noise can be traced back to the Cold War (Ritts and Shiga, 2016), broad-based concern only emerged in the 1990s, when a series of whale “strandings” galvanized concern over the impacts of US military sonar (Weilgart, 2007a). The ocean is an incredibly efficient conductor of sound, allowing acoustic waves to propagate vast distances (Ross ,1976). It is also a highly complex site for tracking sonic movements. As Helmreich explains: “sound traveling obliquely through seawater does not move in a straight line but is bent like light through a prism” (2007: 628). Still, scientists were able to decisively connect incidences of beached whales hundreds with proximities to navy sonar exercises. The whale revealed discernible physical damages, such as hemorrhaging around the brain, inner ears, and “acoustic” fats (Fernández et al., 2005). Supported by funding provisions facilitated through litigation against the US Navy (McCarthy, 2007:21), they began considering how other noise sources impacted whales. Speaking on NPR in 2001, cetologist Chris Clark described a well shipped Mediterranean as a “totally urbanized environment that sounds … as though you were lying under the street in downtown San Francisco” (quoted in McCarthy, 2007:74). In the open waters off the North Coast, for instance, which Canadian and US Navies 146  have long been interested in measuring, acoustic tracking indicates that low frequency noise,  < 80 hertz (Hz), has increased by 10 to 12 decibels (dB) since the 1960s. This coincides with the doubling of marine traffic across the northern part of the Pacific. By the mid-2000s, shipping noise had been identified as a major threat to whales’ well-being in a number of ocean basins (Jasny, 2005).  For marine scientists around the world, ocean noise was by the early 2000s provoking momentous shifts in received understandings of whales and marine space. Whereas sonar produced direct and immediate injury, the chronic low-frequency sounds of shipping suggested largely “behavioral” impacts with unknown long-term effects. Whales would respond to this emergent form of ocean noise in a variety of ways – “area-avoidance”, stress, mortality, even an unexpected tolerance (Weilgart, 2007a). By the mid 2000s, studies into the effects of shipping noise on whales were proliferating (IWC, 2007; NRDC, 2005). The impacts noted in these biologically focused ocean noise studies pointed to serious incapacities in the prevailing frameworks of marine regulation and animal protection in Canada and the US. If initial assessments looked for direct exposure pathways centered on animal hearing mechanisms, new conceptual models proposed modulations of animal behavior that required the inclusion of complex contextual acoustic variables. By the mid 2000s, studies of ocean noise were uncovering impacts on a widening range of taxa – not only whales, but fish, crustaceans, and even coral (Williams et al., 2015b).  “The more we looked”, notes Michael Jasny, a policy analyst for the National Resources Defense Council, and the lead author of one of the first systematic assessments of ocean noise research, “the deeper the problem appeared” (Jasny, Pers. Comm.). 147   A good example of the claims scientists were making by the mid 2000s is Clark et al. (2009), a study which found that the ocean noise produced by shipping off Boston Harbor provoked a “loss in communication space” in North Atlantic right whales. These animals were losing nearly two-thirds of their “opportunities” to communicate as a result of shipping. For whale species reliant on sound to complete their most basic social and navigational functions, such impacts were potentially devastating, even if it showed little in the way of immediately measurable outcomes. Data gaps on whale movements, and the recognition that not all species have equal hearing capabilities (Horowitz and Jasny, 2007), made such findings context specific, and contingent on the pressures introduced by other variables. The multi-point nature of shipping noise—potentially implicating hundreds of ships in a given exposure scenario—made the determination of causal relationships extremely difficult. Except under highly controlled situations, prevailing approaches to impact measurement, such as the dose–response relationship, could not represent the fluctuating, pervasive ocean noise exposures introduced by shipping (Williams et al., 2014).  The scientific turn to shipping-related ocean noise was not merely a switch in focus from one sound source to another. It was a socially meaningful development, proposing a new kind of acoustically sensitive nature in an era of growing marine-ecological concern. By the mid 2000s, ocean noise had been joined with acidification and marine debris as legitimate environmental hazards, each bringing the ocean’s “forgotten space” into renewed policy focus and public attention (Sekula and Burch, 2011). The shipping economy’s contribution to this ecologically 148  fragile space had not gone unnoticed. As Ryan (2015: 570, quoting Steinberg, 1999: 403) summarizes:  Shipping lane security, which historically structured our understanding of sea as “as an empty void to be annihilated by hypermobile capital”, is currently being disrupted and supplemented by a construction that frames the sea not as a void, but as a “resource rich but fragile space requiring rational management for sustainable development”.   Thus, by 2010, ocean noise had decisively entered the sphere of marine politics on the North Coast. The WWF included it in its conservation mandate (Alidina et al., 2012). The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) began new projects to monitor ocean noise in the North Coast (specifically off the Hecate Strait), and local efforts like Cetacea Lab began circulating their hydrophone data to agencies interested in its noise-content (Meuter, Pers. Comm.). International oceanographic studies, correlating ocean noise levels to the spatio-temporal dynamics of shipping, formed the basis of new acoustic baselines, impact analysis and projections off the North Coast (Williams et al., 2012, 2013; Erbe et al., 2013). Figure 1 is a ‘sound map’ of shipping related ocean noise from a study commissioned by the WWF. It projects automated Automatic Identification of Shipping (AIS) data (now a regulatory requirement for shipping) onto a North Coast marine space separated into 250 by 250 m grids.64 Vessels are grouped into different length classes, and sound source spectra – or, the amount of vibration at each individual frequency – are assigned values to the classes based on literature reviews and                                                64  In the US and around the world, federal Navigation Safety Regulations came into force on May 10, 2005. The Regulations states: “Every ship, other than a fishing vessel, of 500 tons or more that is not engaged on an international voyage shall be fitted with an AIS”. 149  published reporting. The result is a composite map of cumulative underwater acoustic energy – ocean noise – from 12 months of shipping in the year 2010.      Figure 4. 1 Cumulative sound exposure level from vessel traffic from Jan – Dec 2010. From Erbe et al. (2013). Used with permission.  The significance of all this quantification work becomes clear when we return to the political status of whales. In the early regulatory battles around sonar, proponents of noise-producing projects disregarded concerns around animal behavior. “Unknown” biological impacts of ocean noise were translated into “no impact” (Cummings and Brandon, 2004). New research made this position hard to defend. By the mid 2000s, enough evidence had been generated for mainstream conservation organizations to recognize ocean noise as a marine pollutant that 150  impacted whales and transformed ecosystems on a global scale (IUCN, 2004b; IWC, 2007). Environmental groups began pressuring state authorities into recognizing that they had legal powers to regulate shipping-related ocean noise (IUCN, 2004a). They worked to make Sylvia Earle’s coinage, “A deaf whale is a dead whale”, common knowledge among state policymakers (Horwitz, 2014: 166). By connecting the well-being of whales to the noisy detritus of marine development, their narratives resonated as potent reputational threats to institutions seeking green legitimacy. In response, several states introduced legislation aimed at curbing particular noise sources in their waters. In order to reduce the high numbers of reported beaked whale strandings in the area, the Spanish government in 2004 announced a moratorium on military sonar use around the Canary Islands (Weilgart, 2007a). In Australia one year later, seasonal vessel traffic was restricted from the spatially delimited Marine Mammal Protection Zone in the Great Australian Bight (Parsons et al., 2009). The Brazilian government prohibited seismic surveys off the coast during the humpback whale breeding season, a measure supported by the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee (IWC, 2007).  These combined developments made the shipping industry and its allies nervous (Stocker, Pers. Comm.). Because noise levels tend to increase with vessel speed, an obvious solution is for ships to slow down, or exit entirely from vulnerable areas. But if responded to as such, ocean noise becomes a major “drag” on trade flows, with untold impacts up and down the supply chain. This largely explains why the shipping and oil gas industries sought to ignore the issue when it first appeared in the 1990s: “What do they want, no ships in the ocean?”, Richard Paddock, then president American Institute of Maritime Shipping, responded when the issue was raised to him in 1994 (quoted in McCarthy, 2007:177). By the mid 2000s, however, the specter 151  of a new “regulatory hurdle” began to receive discussion on the pages of industry trade journals like Marine Link and BC Shipping News. One analyst I spoke to summarizes the new geopolitical prominence of the ocean noise issue was by this time enjoying: “The industry may be in situations where they are barred from going into certain areas because regulators won’t let them. Or regulators might privilege one company over another because of a higher ability to reduce potential impacts” (Anon, Pers. Comm.).  Ocean Noise Risk   Among the first signs that the politics around ocean noise was shifting appears in widening associations between ocean noise and risk. By 2008, shipping-related ocean noise was beginning to assume a primacy in the economic risk analyses of the shipping industry (IMO 2008). One observable result of this interest are a set of new productions of “risky space” (Stanley, 2013) in key development areas, exemplified in the sound-map presented in Figure 1. As ocean noise “risk” became a tangible concern to a new set of actors, it provoked a redrawing in the political relation between science and the proponents of marine economic development. This idea is captured in the following statement, from the proceedings of a 2012 conference on ocean noise:  It was agreed by all that the primary reason for the assessment of risk, particularly as related to marine mammals … is communication between those with expertise in business, scientific, and engineering disciplines and those relying on such expertise to make decisions” (Carson et al., 2012: 658; emphasis added). Although figures remain difficult to verify, one interviewee, who 152  preferred to remain anonymous, suggested to me that the shipping sector was by 2010 routinely spending upwards of $100 million a year on ocean noise-related services (e.g. recording, observation, modeling) connected to its new risk economy (Anon, Pers. Comm.). “It’s big business for them,” he told me. “And its getting bigger.”  For Gramsci, concepts like risk are “at the same time a living thing and a museum of fossils of life and civilizations” (7, §35; SPN 354–357). They have an ineluctably social character, and their history of past meanings can inspire new links between different social activities. Scientists have long discussed ocean noise as a biologically impactful kind of “risk” (e.g. Richardson et al. 1995). By the mid 2000s, scientific discovery had made the scope of possible risks exponentially greater; even the altered dive patterns of a sperm whale might constitute consequential impacts of ocean noise (Horowitz and Jasny, 2007). But the expansion of ocean noise-as-biological risk endowed ocean noise with a new economic valence. We see this tendency in the policy discussions increasingly taking place between scientists and other marine economic actors tracking the issue. In particular, shipping’s eventual embrace of ocean noise science would produce momentous shifts in the political function of ocean noise risk. This is because a powerful economic actor would not only begin taking the biological impacts of ocean noise seriously, it would do so by “translating” biological risk into an economic register befitting the nature of its concern (Ives, 2004). The evolving language of ocean noise regulation reveals a proliferation of social linkages between biological and economic risk, a harmonization process affirming a new social significance in ocean noise risk.  153  “Risk” is well understood as having the ability to pivot between economic and biological lexicons (e.g. Luhmann, 2005). For marine biologists studying ocean noise, “risk” is “the probability of an accident occurring … and the consequences when an accident does occur” (Nowlan et al., 2013:11). For industrial proponents, the same accident might be a “regulatory risk” (Dempsey, 2013) – e.g. a risk operating in relation to the legal penalties proponents might face with new government policies, such as fines from injured whales. What eventfully secured these threads in the context of ocean noise was the state’s growing acknowledgement of ocean noise as a “reputational risk”—e.g. a risk linked to the ongoing legitimacy concerns around sustainable marine development (Johnson 2013). The potential effects of seismic airgun sounds on constitutionally protected whales (and other marine mammals) were assessed by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans as early as 2004, but it was only by 2008, in the context of a new international consensus, that “ambient” or shipping noise was being tabled as a potential contributor to whales’ “acoustical environment” (DFO, 2009). All of this confirmed the political significance of new scientific claims around ocean noise and biological risk, especially as it pertained to the institutional interests of different marine users.  By 2014, the Prince Rupert Port Authority, shipping proponents for LNG and allied state agencies (e.g. Transport Canada) were discussing ocean noise “risk” as a one of proliferation of other risks in shipping lane security (Cowen, 2014; Glück, 2015). Scientists working for the state and private contractors were elaborating “species specific” risk calculations in projected   industrial development areas (Williams et al., 2014). Also by this time, the Green Marine Management Corporation, an international lobbying body for the shipping industry, had initiated efforts to endow ocean noise risk with a “performance indicator” status within its environmental 154  program: in effect, ‘less noise = more green’ (Transport Canada, 2017). These initiatives owe much to the innovations of science, and in particular, science’s increased ability to parameterize risk through new “tools of ascertainment” (Wainwright and Mercer 2009: 357). The introduction of new observation technologies and associated data analytics has transformed the biological study of ocean noise at the theoretical level and as a social enterprise. Not only do these tools provide a basis for powerful appeals that “regulators work within existing statutory mandates, rather than to conceive of a strategy premised upon a comprehensive ocean noise regulatory scheme that does not exist”, they normalize risk as well (API-IAGC, 2016:6). By being able to provide regulators with risk scenarios previously unavailable, data-driven forms of ocean noise risk are mitigating against institutional inclusion of scientific “uncertainty” (Cummings and Brandon, 2004). They are providing grounds for disregarding the precautionary principle marine biologists have long advocated for in the context of ocean noise (Weilgart, 2007b).  The New Law of The Sea   To understand how these political shifts that could manifest in ocean noise research, it is necessary to regard the incredible growth of the ocean noise research field. By 2014, more than 550 peer-reviewed papers had been published on ocean noise, inclusive of the less-used and interchangeable terms “shipping noise” and “underwater noise” (Williams et al., 2015b: 19). A Thompson Reuters search for “ocean noise” and “whales” yields less than five results for 1994, approximately 50 for 2004, and over 800 for 2014. By this time, animal-focused studies were being developed with the involvement of physical oceanographers, GIS modelers, and policy strategists (e.g. Erbe et al., 2012). Supporting this proliferation was an entirely new architecture 155  of para-scientific institutions. Over the last half-decade, presentations from shipping industry lobbyists and port officials have become common features at scientific conferences on ocean noise (e.g. Nowlan et al., 2013), and to see industry-affiliated scientists collaborate with academic biologists, state scientists, and environmental NGOs on local outreach projects (CHoNe, 2015; MARES, 2015). The social character of ocean noise research has thus shifted markedly since the 1990s. Today, shipping and related developmental interests are not resisting the biological study of ocean noise. They are actively supporting it through funding and partnerships (Port Metro Vancouver, 2015).  This mainstreaming of ocean noise science has coincided with the “golden age” of marine sensing technology (Agardy et al., 2011), a component to the revolution in data analytics (Crampton et al., 2014). By 2008, advances in underwater sensing technologies made the “Passive Acoustic Monitoring” (PAM) of animals possible at unprecedented spatiotemporal scales. Enabling the close tracking of whales through the ocean’s acoustic medium, data-driven forms of PAM characterize “risk-relationships” along with detailed oceanographic conditions (Hatch and Fristrup, 2009). Data analytics propose “surveillance today at levels not possible a decade ago” (Agardy et al., 2011: 231), regulating marine space by generating digital grids into which superficially random events appear in controlled and regulated ways. Many scientists see these developments as a boon to their research enterprise (Williams, Pers. Comm.). Data analytics have resulted in a flurry of new ocean noise studies combining AIS data with sophisticated animal-tracking models (e.g. Erbe et al., 2014). At the regulatory level, these advances have helped to transform a global issue (i.e. ocean noise) into ever smaller, more 156  actionable units, facilitating the locational study of ocean noise in connection with particular industrial actors and concerns (cf. Ryan, 2015).  Across various North American marine regulatory contexts, data analytics support not only ocean noise research, but industry-led claims regarding sustainable trajectories in marine economic activity too (Gabrys, 2016). Capturing both tendencies is Stellwagen Bank, a marine sanctuary off the coast of Boston, MA (Hatch and Fristrup, 2009). Since 2007, a partnership of government, academic, and industry actors have overseen a potent new system for monitoring ocean noise impact in the well shipped marine sanctuary (NOAA, 2014). At Stellwagen, suggested ship-routing changes arise when sounds from noise-sensitive right whales are detected by arrays of “marine autonomous recording units” (MARU) continuously recording low-frequency sounds (10–1000 Hz). The essential variability of ocean noise propagation patterns is engaged through a “flexible” assessment model defined by continuously updating the profile of marine-acoustic space. It is a persuasive, powerfully ideological demonstration of the “responsiveness” of marine shipping in an age of environmental concern.  At Stellwagen, data analytics constitutes the basis for new scientific claims regarding the safety of marine shipping. The sanctuary is part of “Whale Alert”, a “growing network of non-profit institutions, government agencies, shipping and technology companies focused on reducing lethal ship strikes of whales” (http://www. The “assistive pretext” of a potentially injured whale is central to this innovation, encouraging study methods that closely align with the interests of shipping and the novel capacities of techno-science. Regulators in the Canada and the US are now exploring a range of models—such as the NOAA-led initiatives 157  “CetSound” and “CetMap”—in which dynamic and “fuzzy” models of marine space inform the movements of ships through risky habitats (Lawson and Lesage, 2013; NOAA, 2016). These efforts support a range of firms constructing new software and new tools for ocean noise measurement, including military defense contractors (e.g. Bae Systems), midsized firms (e.g. JASCO), and “start-ups” (e.g. Ocean Sonics). The shipping routines developed at Stellwagen describe an emerging collective effort—combining scientists across a range of skills and institutional orders—to rationalize an increasingly perilous sea-space for marine capital.  It is productive to observe the “fidelities” between underwater acoustics research and broader hegemonic interests. Over the last several years, the question of how to “better align the research-driven technology development … with opportunities for commercial technology development” has emerged as a policy priority at the regional, provincial, and federal levels (Expert Panel on Canadian Ocean Science, 2013: xviii). Spurred by concerns over industrial development prospects, forces within the Canadian state are now implicating ocean noise with nationwide efforts to catalyze dynamism in an ocean technologies sector estimated to grow to $6 billion by 2020 (IORE, 2016; Moore, 2015:11). Following on from the efforts at Stellwagen and Whale Listening and Habitat Experiment (WHaLE), new “Whale Alert” systems are developing on all three Canadian coasts (MEOPAR, 2016). An example with particular relevance to the North Coast, Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO), a Vancouver-based observation project, provides analysts with real time data to “quantifiably reduce threats from commercial vessel-related activities to at-risk whales” (Port Metro Vancouver, 2015).65 The                                                65 ECHO has already been working closely with a province-run ferry operator BC Ferries, which operates 34 vessels on 24 routes in British Columbia. The company has already claimed to have made more than 590 accurate 158  scheme uses “multi-hydrophone arrays” drilled to the floor of the Strait of Georgia to measure ocean noise and whale vocalizations in real time (Port Metro Vancouver, 2015:11). A major funder of ECHO is Kinder Morgan, an energy company with a controversial plan to send tankers through the region (Clark, 2015). ECHO’s work plan closely aligns with the regional killer whale recovery activities required of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), suggesting a synergy of institutional interests (DFO, 2015). It is also partnered with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, an institution which began exploring the implementation of similar measures in 2015.    In Gramscian terms, scientific innovations like ECHO are also efforts to absorb challenges to hegemony within a widening arc of capitalist-led marine modernization. More than scientific innovations, they are political declarations: demonstrations of the power of new institutional configurations, tools, and ideas to solve worldly problems (and are promoted as such). ECHO’s geopolitical significance becomes clear in light of the industrial development chokepoint—e.g. location in which transportation networks “cannot be easily bypassed, if at all” (Rodrigue, 2004:359)—where the experimental project has been positioned. Through data analytics, industrial proponents and policy makers around the world are now modeling increasingly nuanced conditions under which noisy industrial activity might proceed without harm to whales or “trespass” into their bio-acoustical niches—e.g. the frequencies they require for hearing and communication (Stocker, Pers. Comm.). Like Stellwagen, ECHO is not an official regulatory policy. Rather it is a scientifically enabled form of “arena shifting”, i.e. a means of re-directing state energies (Hajer, 2003). ECHO is a de facto supplement to regulation                                                recordings from 1000 transits made by four of the vessels (The Motorship 2016). See: vancouver-proposes-underwater-noise-incentives). 159  in a context of ongoing regulatory inaction. In effect, this operation is being encouraged by the Canadian state’s inability to elaborate new policy on ocean noise, and particularly in light of the complex frameworks, cumulative effects and ecosystem scale solutions the issue requires (Lawson and Lesage, 2013; Weilgart, 2007a).  New Regulatory Noise  In 2017, the character of actually existing ocean noise management can be summarized in a word: flexibility. Shipping and oil and gas companies have not openly opposed efforts to regulate ocean noise. Rather, they have reworked scientific concerns to align the issue with the shifting spatial grids that animate their activities. Efforts to reduce shipping noise have not been instituted. Shipping noise has been re-parameterized by new environmental management tools and deferred in light of anticipated vessel quieting technologies (IMO, 2014). On the North Coast, shipping noise is now “intermediated” by a new circuit of data-collecting, technology-testing firms (Callon, 2002), each of which are generating new streams of value for capitals based in far off locations. To a certain degree, these achievements have depended on the privileges granted to the shipping industry under international regulatory law: shipping has long benefited from a tradition of mare liberum granting right of passage on the high seas (Russ and Zeller 2003). In Canada (and the US), shipping remains “conspicuously exempt” from the regulation entrained to other noise-producing actors in marine space, such as navy (sonar) and even oil and gas (seismic survey) (Gillespie, 2016; Hatch and Fristrup, 2009: 226). But shipping’s ability to benefit from localized, essentially self-regulating monitoring schemes has 160  also depended on institutional failures—including a variety of attempts to regulate ocean noise at the national and international levels.  We can briefly note some of these. In the mid 2000s, a scientific community proposed that the most effective means of mitigating ocean noise was protected area designation, through which states could restrict noise-producing industry from particular areas, at least during sensitive periods (Dolman, 2007). Their approach drew from innovations in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which had already been implemented to degrees of success in Australia and other coastal locations (Hoyt 2014). But subsequent efforts revealed that protected areas management requires highly complicated interagency co-ordinations; already proposed MPAs have been notoriously slow to take shape in Canada and the US (Bailey et al., 2016). In the North Coast, local groups have been forced to initiate the expensive marine studies independently. In 2015 for instance, the Haida Nation reached out to university scientists at the University of Victoria to develop understanding of changing marine ecology around its SGaan Kinghlas (Supernatural Being Looking Outwards), a locally managed MPA and enormous seamount located 180-kilometres off the west coast of Haida Traditional Territory (Council of Haida Nation, 2015).   Another form of scientific appeal, exemplified in the “International Quiet Oceans Experiment” (IQEE), has directed attention to international regulatory authorities, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which exerts singular authority over the adoption of sector-wide marine shipping standards (Boyd et al., 2014; Wright, 2014). Here, a different problem arises: because these agencies enact “voluntary” stipulations, and are reliant on consensus-based agreements that shipping agents can 161  choose to adopt in different ways, they give little assurance of consistent uptakes.66 Mimicking the “hot potato” in international biotechnology regulation (Buckingham and Phillis 2001), ocean noise has borne witness to a political process of “scale-jumping” (Smith 1992) where the institutional embrace of the issue abruptly stops at the point of implementation. As one attendee to a Vancouver ocean noise conference I attended in 2012 exclaimed: “As soon as we approach the International Maritime Organization, it’s the state. As soon as we approach them [e.g. state regulators] … it’s ‘IMO! IMO!’” (Thompson, Pers. Comm.).67  In the context of stalled regulatory action, certifications and environmental standards—the “‘soft law’ of global exchanges” (Easterling, 2014:18) – have assumed new prominence. There is range of geographical work charting the growing significance of infrastructure standards to marine geopolitics and political economy (Carse and Lewis, 2017; Cowen, 2014; Starosielski, 2015). Standards and certification articulate a broader hegemonic effort to involve science-based technology regulation in global trade liberalization (Easterling, 2014). They follow a familiar depoliticizing script by shifting an environmental problem away from publically accountable authorities and into the hands of technocratic elites with less public accountability (e.g. Swyngedouw, 2015). Beginning with the announcement of the “SILENT-E” vessel class by shipping-certification body Det Norske Veritas, ocean noise has inspired a raft of new notations                                                66 A case in point is the eventual IMO (2014) ocean noise “guidelines”, which proponents may choose to adopt into their practices. Similar language characterizes appeals to the UN: Although ocean noise qualifies as “pollution” under Article 194 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1972), nations states alone have the power to reduce and control it according to “best practicable means at their disposal … in accordance with their capabilities.” See: UNCLOS, Article 194., unclos/unclos_e.pdf. 67 Ocean noise regulation has enjoyed some success in Europe, most notably with The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), introduced by the European Commission in 2008. It includes a ‘descriptor’ compelling its members to ensure that ocean noise remains at levels that do not “adversely affect” the marine environment. Average ambient noise levels in designated areas must not exceed 100 dB in one-third octave bands centered at 63 Hz (see Van der Graaf et al. 2012). 162  promising quiet and “green” shipping practices (Det Norske Vertias, 2010).68 These certifications and standards, authored by shipping lobbies like Green Marine and Bureau Veritas, allow vessel operators to be “ahead of regulation”, in the words of Jean-Francois Segretain, technical director of Bureau Veritas Marine and Offshore Division. They simultaneously protect older vessels from the axe of mandated decommissioning, as those ships can be moved to less regulated corridors. Standards thus support competitive advantage while allowing firms to simultaneously appear as acting in the public good. In 2016, the Port of Vancouver (PMV) became one of the first major ports to propose a 47% discount on berthing charges for ships with low noise notations, as certified by DNV, GL, the American Bureau of Shipping, or RINA (The Motorship, 2016). There is speculation that the PRPA (Port of Prince Rupert) is in the midst of undertaking similar actions presently (fall 2017) (Ambach, Pers. Comm).  New Scientific Communities  Government scientists working to manage ocean noise in light of new certifications and standards are not “dupes”, blindly working away in service of capitalist elites. They are institutionally embedded actors whose scope of movement is altered by the balance of forces that set the course for science’s socially directed goals. As proposals for cumulative approaches to ocean noise work their way through state bureaucracy (Lawson and Lesage, 2013), ocean noise is spurring new partnerships between state actors, industry, science involved in measurement, modeling, and risk assessment, creating new social relations and partnerships. The newly                                                68 See: Transport Canada 2017 for some of the range of certification efforts and classification efforts.   163  “collaborative” character of ocean noise research is especially clear on Canada’s North Coast, where an early state-led effort to regulate noisy-vessel movements, the Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP), failed to gain traction. As Cetacea Lab’s delegate to the MaPP meetings noted to me, any discussion of protecting whale-rich Squally Channel from shipping “was totally off the table”, despite consensus about its high ecological benefits (GM, Pers. Comm.). Operating in its stead are “triple-helixes” of government bureaucrats, industry lobbyists, and academic scientists (Moore et al., 2011: 509), collectively touting the benefits of data-driven solutions to localized “risk” areas (for examples, see MEOPAR, 2016). Here, the consensus decision to appraise ocean noise through “risk” is emboldened by new social relations (Johnson 2013) that restrict the possible involvement of other actors. Risk-related market language proliferates across this terrain, such that the (PRPA) can explore efforts to incentivize “voluntary” noise reduction in one setting, while state officials can suggest “noise credits” as enticement mechanisms in another. Local whale conservation groups, including Cetacea Lab (Chapter 2), are being encouraged to assimilate their data into a comprehensive “BC Hydrophone Network” run by a new science consortium, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), supported by state and development interests (Moore, 2015).  Much of what I have said here can be understood through the lens of the “socio-ecological fix” (Ekers and Prudham, 2015), with ocean noise providing a conduit for capitalist solutions to problems capitalism has created. While broadly agreeing with this line, the Gramscian approach to science has the additional merit of attending to the socio-institutional dynamics of socio-ecological fixes, including the role of intellectuals in assenting to or challenging prevailing techno-scientific trajectories and associated forms of fixed capital 164  investment. As Lewandowski (2016: 1278) reports, the social arrangements that undergird ocean noise research have shifted scientific inquiry toward “applied” questions, resulting in a growing collective gap in baseline information. One informant, an ocean noise policy analyst asked to remain anonymous, suggested that the outlay of data analytics investments have yet to tangibly improve efforts to protect threatened whales from ocean noise protection efforts: “I find an embarrassment, that you have these expenditures, increasing sophistication of modeling, but little by way— as yet—in significant changes in mitigation and policy. There’s a big lag” (Anon, Pers. Comm.). Yet open criticisms remain absent. The political tenor of public scientific discussion around conservation is best characterized by “opportunity areas”, a position which largely assumes the intractability of shipping lanes, and seeks to shift discussion of “protected-areas management” to places where acoustic conservation “may involve simply maintaining the acoustic status quo” (Williams et al., 2015a: 155).   “Acoustically Sensitive” Whales  Over the last 20 years, scientific research has transformed whale species into new “acoustically-vulnerable” subjects; sonically “tuned” systems of aptitudes, harms, and responses. These attributes, combined with whales’ well known environmental celebrity, and the definitions of injury and harassment given under federal laws (such as Canada’s 2002 Species at Risk Act), position whales at the center of the regulatory politics of ocean noise.69 It is important, then, to consider more closely how whales’ potentially catastrophic exposures to noise are represented                                                69 Canada has a series of potentially applicable mechanisms to ocean noise management —including the Oceans Act, Canada Shipping Act, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA)—but remains focused on an animal-litigation approach. 165  within a hegemonizing science. The risk estimations at the center of the whale’s annexation to ocean noise—potentially, the most politically explosive moment in the whole arrangement—reveal a techno-politics of measurement and assessment. In Canada, industrial development projects proceed through an exposure–response methodology, wherein exposure analyses (how much noise a project produces) are followed by response analyses (whether and how whales will respond to a given exposure) that together provide for the determination of a “safe” level. A “noise threshold” assumes impact when noise reaches or exceeds a certain level (e.g. 160 dB). For industrial proponents, a “noise threshold” is a “risk threshold”, the level beyond which the proponent is compelled to take serious action (e.g. rerouting the ship). For industry, the upshot is that a project’s environmental requirements are clear: “stay below the threshold!” Their regulatory action is largely one of validating assumptions that exposures to ocean noise are within “safe” limits (Lawson and Lesage, 2013); a post hoc formulation that has encouraged dubious modeling practices (see Clark, 2015).  Importantly, these approaches to mitigating whale exposures to noise harmonize with the risk frameworks touted by industry. The fungible nature of risk furnishes state-mandated Environmental Assessment with a “sufficiently elastic framework” to permit the involvement of economic actors (technology firms, shipping lobbies, and consultancy services) into the evaluation of whale impacts (10II, §61; SPN 114–118). For example, the 2010 Enbridge Northern Gateway Project (NGP) application to send tankers through a northern section of Canada’s West Coast advances a “species-specific standard” for estimating impacts on northern resident killer whales. Notably, this standard, which was developed in house, assumes that only ocean noise 55–65 dB above the killer whales’ hearing threshold harmfully impacts whales 166  (Enbridge, 2010:10–39). It reduces the extent of the “risk-area”—an acoustical impact zone several orders of magnitude smaller than would be calculated using other threshold approaches (Enbridge, 2010:10–51).  Scientific criticism of such “threshold” models has grown in recent years, as it fundamentally fails to grasp the complexity of whale otology (the mechanics of hearing) (Williams et al., 2014). From a proponent’s perspective, there is as much “regulatory risk” operating just below the threshold as there is in operating far below it. Clearly, however, this might not be the case for biological impacts, especially in areas where multiple ships converge and other ecological hazards are at play. In other words, “noise thresholds” and “risk thresholds” summon a language of “injury thresholds” science is having difficulty articulating with particular whale bodies. “It is improbable”, one prominent marine biologist observes, “that there will be conclusive evidence of causality for many, especially subtle, acoustically induced potential population-level impacts, particularly within the time frames where irreversible population and ecosystem-level effects may occur” (Weilgart, 2007a: 1107). As one LNG consultant I interviewed succinctly explained: “One of the biggest issues scientists are having with [whales] is that we still don’t actually know in many cases what they can hear” (Anon, Pers. Comm.). Due to a host of logistical difficulties, basic data on many aspects of the whale hearing process remains nonexistent (Williams et al., 2014). Sounds are generally assumed to be audible to whales when their energy is above the particular species’ scientifically measured hearing curve, or “audiogram”. But for a host of reasons involving the complexities of otology and cetacean study, scientists only have audiograms for 11 of 84 species (Dehnhardt, 2002). It has proven highly difficult to administer whale from an acoustics standpoint, a challenge which combines 167  oceanographic conditions and diverse sound sources with the specificities of biology and even biography.    All of this points to a legitimacy problem. A techno-capitalist drive for enlarged scope, approach, and purpose in ocean noise risk assessment is revealing new incapacities in the state, which lacks the data to use the very models it touts (Carson et al., 2012). Suggestive of the infinite regress long associated with the noise concept (Attali, 1985), difficulties in fixing biological impact prefigure a growing politics of statistical noise—scenarios where impact cannot be standardized, and uncertainties grow amid a million possible scenarios. At a time when novel regulatory ideas presuppose the availability of data-driven solutions to ocean noise, personnel shortages are growing (Nowacek, Pers. Comm.). There are not enough skilled scientists to make sense of the terabytes of underwater sound recordings the sensors are generating. Meanwhile, challenges to the state’s hegemonic vision of marine modernization are also growing. Environmentalist resistance to the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Vancouver, BC—which draws from an extensive network of Indigenous leaders, well-funded NGOs and citizen groups—is growing, and has lately turned its attention to acoustically sensitive killer whales, on the verge of extirpation in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia (Proctor, 2016). A contest of “Big oil vs big whale” (Proctor 2016) could raise the politics of ocean noise science to new heights in the North Coast as well, particularly if any of the proposed LNG projects in the Douglas Channel reach construction phase (e.g. LNG Canada, 2014).    168  Conclusion  In 2008, the ocean noise issue received an important early legal victory. “DFO vs. Suzuki” required the novel consideration of ocean noise in the protection of killer whale habitats, and was thus hailed as a first positive step by a number of environmental groups (see Federal Court, 2010; Nowlan et al., 2013). Yet the increased regulatory attention whales have received in the ensuring years has done little to improve their prospects. Eight years after the lawsuit, Canada remains without a systematic approach to ocean noise regulation. This depressing reality returns us to the 2014 decision I used to open this chapter. There are growing cracks in Canada’s liberal scientific paradigm, revealed by the state’s growing difficulties in balancing the competing directives generated by ocean noise. Environmentalists and many scientists are calling not only for regulation built on cumulative impacts, but a sort of “post-impact” lexicon better able to capture ocean noises’ complex, synergistic effects on marine life—and especially whales. Alongside these calls, and the uncertainties scientists raise about their ability to vouchsafe “biologically-safe” shipping, there have been other calls for the market “internalization” of the noise “externality”. As I have shown in this chapter, the tangible result of these latter calls is a range of new activities around acoustical mitigation services, consultancies, and remote sensing – in both the North Coast and elsewhere. In effect, ocean noise, or rather a scientifically legitimated relation between underwater sound and at-risk whales, has become a kind of nature “capital can see” (Robertson, 2006: 367). Ocean noise has promoted novel capitalist valuation schemes, and fomented new relationships between scientific and economic actors, even as its long-term biological consequences remain essentially unknown.  169  Gramsci describes the struggle for hegemony as educative, i.e. as requiring a massive, widespread process of intellectual and moral reform. In our contemporary moment, the ability to manage the content of new ecological issues has become an important site of hegemonic activity. Because science involves the tendency to “modify continually the ‘mode of knowledge’” (Salamini, 2014: 170), science nevertheless holds potential for serving as the basis of different social realities (cf. Thomas 2009a: Chapter 6). Re-politicizing ocean noise science means drawing attention to the ways a humming ship propeller announces social relations—such as between industry, state, and science that could be otherwise. In this regard, it is encouraging to see that public education of the issue has increased markedly since 2015. Public education efforts by the Vancouver Aquarium (which opened an office in Prince Rupert in 2014), and the learning initiatives at some high-schools in Prince Rupert and Hartley Bay could become pivot points for rearticulating ocean noise governance along more critical lines. To demand a better politics for ocean noise is to support efforts to mitigate against the harms it causes marine life. But it is also to bring the issue in line with broader interests that would prevent certain resource users from appropriating a collective surplus to their own benefit. Science can teach people to see—and hear —why capitalism is not the best way of organizing social relations with nature in the ocean.      170  CHAPTER 5 -  GLOBAL INDIGENEITY AND GROUNDED ARTICULATION IN THE BLACK METAL OF GYIBAAW  “Of course, if you are going to try to break, contest, or interrupt some of these tendential historical connections, you have to know when you are moving against the grain of historical formations. If you want to move religion, to rearticulate it in another way, you are going to come across all the grooves that have articulated it already.”   - Stuart Hall, Lecture 6, “Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture.”  Let me begin the final chapter by way of a story, taken from the May 1975 issue of The Native Voice, the official organ of the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia. It is about Johnny Clifton, Hereditary Chief of the Gitga’at First Nation, and his participation at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in Geneva, Switzerland. At the conclusion of the meetings, Clifton rose unexpectedly to thank his fellow attendees – political leaders from Canada and other G7 countries – for their invitation, as “his participation marked yet another step on the road to equality for Canadian Indians” (Calami, 1975). He wanted to “say goodbye through an ancient tribal custom of singing his own song, one composed when he inherited the chieftanship [sic] in his settlement near Prince Rupert. With the attention of the room secured, and External Affairs Minister Allan MacEachern and Newfoundland Minister John Crosbie thumping a tabletop drum-beat, Clifton started chanting in a low voice: “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey...” With a “solemn” Indigenous missive all but guaranteed to his audience, Clifton then detoured into a Hank Williams song – “Heeey Good Looking/ Whaaa-tcha got cooking” – leading to “the best laugh the diplomats had since a treasury board bureaucrat had okayed mid-conference flights home.”   Here, Johnny Clifton demonstrates the power of music to articulate cultural resistance. He makes white country music speak to Indigenous self-determination.  Clifton’s gesture is not 171  merely about humor.  It is a way of thinking about politics (Deloria, 1969).70 Music’s “polysematic” qualities (Samuels, 2004), its ability to mean different things at the same time, allows Clifton to reach beyond the room to larger social differences outside. He can both refuse the colonial expectation inside the room for “authentic” Indigeneity (Raibmon, 2005), while simultaneously “singing his own song” by using the celebrated “Rez Music” of Hank Williams, a sound identified by Indigenous peoples throughout North America as capturing a pervasive way of native life (Samuels, 2004). While Clifton’s gesture may be heard and appreciated by his mostly white audience, it will not necessarily be understood by them. Indeed, that is perhaps precisely Clifton’s point.   In this chapter, I explore Indigenous popular music though the political work of articulation, a theme developed and elaborated by Stuart Hall (1977, 1981, 1986, 2017). ‘Articulation’ – e.g. the nature of the ways in which social processes, practices and meanings become connected to each other – is helpful for understanding how cultural politics work, and also the terrain through which particular strategies operate. When Johnny Clifton passed in 2006, his Gitga’at First Nation was once again at the center of international marine development negotiations. The Enbridge Northern Gateway (2004-2015) was seeking access to Giga’at Territory (including the Douglas Channel, visible from the Clifton family home in Hartley Bay). Enbridge was supported by a coercive Canadian state, and the proposal came during a heighted phase of industrial development on Indigenous lands across the country (Manuel, 2015). It is in this politicized context that a band called Gyibaaw was formed by two Gitga’at teenagers,                                                70 Vine Deloria Jr addresses ‘Indian’ humor in Custer Died for Your Sins (1969). Humor, he asserts, is a critical element for the survival of Native people, and a way to negotiate social problems within communities (149).  172  Jeremy Pahl (guitar and lead vocals) and Spencer Greening (drums). This chapter focuses on the music that Gyibaaw produced, and its relation to new political sensibilities that were taking hold among Canada’s Indigenous peoples during the same time (Coulthard, 2014; Simpson, 2014; Manuel, 2016).    Whereas Clifton articulated his Giga’at identity with country music, Gyibaaw articulated theirs with black metal, an influential sub-genre of heavy metal. Much like opera in the 19th century, black metal is a high intensity art for unruly times; bringing the anger of the contemporary world into extreme sonic focus. Gyibaaw’s black metal music was never popular in a conventional sense, and their tours across Canada and South America did not draw major media attention. But when they broke up in 2013, they were on the cusp of stardom within an internationally renowned black metal culture, and participants to a “noise uprising” of Indigenous popular music (Denning, 2015: 1; see also: Martineau, 2017). Like Clifton’s agreeable but deceptively nuanced “song,” Gyibaaw’s vision is powerful, if not fully explicable.  For the valence of its grounded Indigenous commitments “may simply be unintelligible to the western and/or imperial ear” (Simpson, 2000: 112). It is perhaps more complicated than this, since many black metal scene-members with a sharply diverging political outlooks admired Gyibaaw. “Nazi and skinheads really liked us,” Jeremy told me during one our first meetings, in 2013, “but they also kind of drove us out” (Pahl, Pers. Comm.). This tension can only be understood by closely considering the mystery and appeal of Gyibaaw’s music. The black metal strategy of Gyibaaw is to “blur the parts together to create an atmospheric wash of sound” (Hagen, 2011: 187).  This produces a kind of veil, confounding audience recognition while allowing the band to express powerful ideas geared to the celebration and reverence of an 173  Indigenous North Coast. Gyibaaw’s music suggests that opacity is not about “deliberate concealment, but a “way of thinking about politics,” and specifically about the nexus of Indigenous and settler cultures that shaped their musical creations (Barber, 1987: 44).    This chapter listens to Gyibaaw to appreciate and chart the limits of understanding Indigenous cultural expression. In taking up an Indigenous popular expression I hope to model a particular relationship between Indigenous and settler epistemologies; one that can “acknowledge the limits of what we know” or even claim to know (Cameron, 2015: 35). At the same time, I want to raise of some of the central contradictions shaping the band’s career and music, insofar as they animate broader cultural politics. Helpful here is Hall’s attention to overlapping contexts – political, cultural, economic – through which oppositional cultural forms operate. The black metal Gyibaaw drew from has also been associated with the recent rise of white ethno-nationalism, both in Canada and abroad (Goodrick-Clark, 2002; Kahn-Harris, 2008; Spracklen, 2009; Podoshyn et al., 2014; Prescott-Steed, 2014). In the case of Gyibaaw, that connection is seen in the applause given to the band at their concerts by white supremacists – something all of its members would discuss with me (Dyck, Pers. Comm.; Greening, Pers. Comm; Pahl. Pers Comm.; Maclean, Pers. Comm.)  At the same time, Gyibaaw were also acclaimed by Indigenous audience members.  Each group, white supremacists and Indigenous people celebrated them for their “authenticity” and “uncompromising” musical commitment (Selisa, Pers. Comm.).  Gyibaaw’s music was not a derivative or submissive sound, but a new kind of music, an ‘Indigenous black metal’ that linked the band to the efforts of thousands of Indigenous musicians operating in scenes around the world. To tell this story, we need to better understand articulation. I do that in the next section, where I also discuss ‘conjuncture’ to 174  differentiate between Clifton’s political terrain and Gyibaaw’s. I then consider the historical and contemporary processes at work in black metal, a globalized form of popular music culture. In the final section, I unite these themes around the music of Gyibaaw, whose situated efforts I place into dialogue with the global sounds of Indigenous black metal.     A Note on Method  How does a settler understand the Gyibaaw? What is being evoked from these powerful and mysterious soundings? “The Gyibaaw is a wolf,” Spencer Greening tells me, “but in some contexts, it is a ‘Naxnox’” [roughly translated in Tsimshian mythology as a primordial power]. “Growing up” he continues, “our idea of the Gyibaaw was a Naxnox told by our parents, but not as a specific adaawx, or story” (Greening, Pers. Comm). At the same time, Spencer and others would point me to recorded stories about wolves’ Naxnox-like abilities, which routinely involve their appearance up and down the Skeena River (Barbeau, 1950, 1987; Beynon 1979). 71 The Laxgibuu, or wolf clan, is one of the four phratries in the culture of the Tsimshian Nation. The Gyibaaw may pertain to clan stories, but it may also be a family story, wrapped up in the lore of personal history: “The Gybiaaw was something our grandfather [Johnny Pahl] told us before bed – a story to make us do good,” Pahl explains (Pers. Comm.). Pahl and Greening, teenagers when the band was formed, liked Gyibaaw for the fear and power it evoked. But if Gyibaaw was a kind                                                71 Reference to the wolves on the Skeena can be found in Volume 3 of William Beynon’s collected works, Tsimshian Ethnographer (Beynon 1979). There is also discussion the Wolf Clan moiety (from which the Gyibaaw legend possibly derives) in various ethnographic accounts of the Tsimshian peoples, including Myths and Legends of Alaska (Judson 1911), and Tsimshian Narratives: Tricksters, shamans, and heroes (Barbeau 1987).   175  of play, it was “serious play” (Haraway 2008), for never did Jeremy or Spencer suggest that the invocation of Gyibaaw meant they were taking their music lightly.   These slippages help to sketch an essential argument running through the chapter. Gyibaaw not only affirms the presence of agential forces in the contemporary world, it complicates settler attempts to grasp such agencies, including this author’s own. Gyibaaw is both inclusive and exceeding of the categories “animal,” “new materialism”, and even “living.” “Indigenous peoples have never forgotten that nonhumans are agential beings engaged in social relations that profoundly shape human lives” writes Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate scholar Kim Tallbear (2015: 232). I need to acknowledge my “ethnographic limits” as a non-Indigenous person making sense of this idea (Simpson, 2000, 2014).72 I am inspired by many thoughtful mediations on this theme (e.g. Cruikshank, 2004; Cameron, 2015; Simpson, 2014; Pasternak, 2017). Routinely, they attest to the need for self-reflexivity and humility when asserting claims about different cultures. As Nordstrom (1997: 80) writes, “listening is not merely an auditory act.” Rather, it is practice imbricated with ethics and obligation. Rather than seek insider status to Gyibaaw, I suggest the analytical insights contained in the position of respectful ‘outsider,’ challenging in turn the convention in musical journalism and ethnography to fetishize ‘insider’ access (e.g. Hodkinson 2002).                                                  72 Simpson discusses “ethnographic limits” in her research in Kahnawà:ke: “The ethnographic limit then, was reached not just when it would cause harm (or extreme discomfort) – the limit was arrived at when the representation would bite all of us and compromise the representational territory that we have gained for ourselves in the past 100 years, in small but deeply influential ways, with a cadre of scholars from Kahnawake whose work has reached beyond the boundaries of the community” (2007: 77).   176  I met Jeremy Pahl and Spencer Greening for the first time in the summer of 2013. I was working on a community eco-acoustics project in Gitga’at Territory (see: Appendix). Our ensuing conversations about Gyibaaw, conducted over two years in Hartley Bay, Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and over the phone, form the basis of this chapter.  The ethnographic practice I most routinely engaged was “hanging out,” a relaxing of expert postures and instrumental-timelines often more appropriate to community-based research (Spivak, 2005). We talked about their recorded work – their tours, and their general reflections on the black metal scene. These discussions frequently led into a range of wonderfully diverse but interrelated themes: contemporary energy politics, histories of the Skeena, Tsimshian legends, favorite childhood video games.  During this period (2013-2015), I also spoke regularly with members of the Pahl family, and am especially grateful to Gitga’ata Johnny Pahl, Cherill Pahl and Clyde Ridley for sharing their stories with me. I held multiple interviews with the other band members as well: Norm Mclean, Brendan Dyck, and Lee van der Kamp. Finally, I interviewed black metal fans, show promoters, and several of the bands Gyibaaw played with (including Ahna, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Mitochondrion) – for a total of 15 ‘context-related’ interviews. I was interested to learn more about the band’s reception, including the significations a mostly non-Indigenous music audience attached to their songs.     My goal here is to present Gyibaaw as a site for thinking about “audio-politics”, and thus to meditate once more on the political act of listening. I spent many hours listening to Gyibaaw’s music, and in particular their album Ancestral War Hymns (2009) – a key document in what 177  follows.73 I was not familiar with black metal before encountering Gyibaaw, so it was also necessary to familiarize myself with the central genre they referenced. While listening to as much as possible, I mainly focused on Gyibaaw’s key influences –Sarcofago, Blasphemy, Drudkh, Dissection, Emperor – as noted by its members.  These experiences were valuable for shaping my insights about the band’s influences and signifying strategies. They allowed me to imaginatively pursue some of the themes raised in the interviews: how did Gyibaaw’s political ideas raised circulate in their songs? What ideas informed the inclusion of certain production strategies (e.g. reverb, delay, etc.) on Ancestral War Hymns? Above all, listening to Gyibaaw attuned me to the particular geopolitical and cultural location where Gyibaaw’s music was composed. The landscape that emerges for me is not Gyibaaw’s landscape. But the music has reshaped the way I experience the North Coast, and Giga’ata especially.  Thanks to Gyibaaw, these lands and waters are enriched; thicker in texture and detail, if still unknowable.    If the intimacies of interviews and solo listening efforts shaped my encounter with Gyibaaw, I pursued a very different strategy to make sense of the broader black metal scene. The literature on ‘metal studies’ is surprisingly wide and varied (for reviews, see: Wallach et al., 2011a; Heesh and Scott, 2016; Kahn-Harris et al., 2016). But the relations between black metal and Indigenous cultural practice remains undertheorized. There is nevertheless a great deal of insight into these themes in the morass of personal blogs, one-off show reviews, metal list-servs, and chat rooms; a voluminous body of work that mimics the messy, globalized nature of the                                                73 In addition to Ancestral War Hymns, Gyibaaw’s catalogue includes a demo tape, (“Demo” [2008]), a “split” with another band (“Gyibaaw/Mitochondion” [2011]), and an appearance on Death Rules Supreme: A Tribute to Mortem (2010). My cassette tape of Ancestral War Hymns routinely blasted away on the shitty F150 speakers of the ’86 Dodge Ram Xplorer I used throughout field-work. It might well be the soundtrack to this dissertation.     178  music. In line with approaches taken by Clinton and Wallach (2017) and Ventakesh (2014), I thus drew a great deal on the black metal ‘blogosphere,’ which I surveyed mostly by following associational chains of hyperlinks and recommendations. Sites like Encyclopedia Metallum, and the Facebook page ‘True Native Black Metal’ (, as well as discussion posts on Reddit, were also crucial. These two forms of methodologically engagement – interviews, storytelling, and hanging out on the one hand; the anonymous world of online culture, on the other – capture the articulation of the “local” and “global” that shapes the music I examine.   Articulation and Conjuncture  I draw from Stuart Hall’s formative 1983 lectures “Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture” that were recently published for the first time (Hall, 2017). In these lectures, Hall connects questions of culture, economy, politics, and resistance, insisting on the importance of culture for understanding broader terrains of struggle. Popular music, Halls argues, is a site for the articulation of politics, including the ability to recognize shared historical experiences.    For Hall (1977: 48) articulation “marks the forms of the relationship through which two processes, which remain distinct – obeying their own conditions of existence – are drawn together to form a “complex unity.”’ The concept of articulation provides tools to think of how “specific practices… articulated around contradictions which do not all arise in the same way… can be nevertheless thought together’ (Hall, 1986: 45). In the Johnny Clifton story I used to open this chapter, it is country music and Indigenous politics that come together unexpectedly (at least 179  for certain people in the room) as articulation. Clifton’s gesture was both an expression (a song), and an act of joining (Indigenous culture and country music), and it is in this compound sense that his musical articulation connects to the politics of Indigeneity.   In his study of the cultural politics of pow-wow recordings in the early 20th century, Scales (2012) notes that meaning in articulation “is never guaranteed and must be actively produced by all involved in the social production and consumption” (9). Hall also keenly understood that a social context sets limitations on the political possibilities of articulations. In Lecture 6 of his University of Illinois lectures (2017), he stressed that articulations are always subject to contestation, uncertainty, and producing even ‘re-articulation.’ The different social interests at play in a given articulation can lead to an articulation’s ‘unraveling’ (see also: Hall 1981). For Hall, the most culturally durable articulations are the ones that "cut" through localized affinities to link with broader social forces. And although the resulting “cultural forms do not contain their own guarantees, they do contain real possibilities” (Hall, 2017: 206). I will argue that is the case for the Indigenous-black metal linkage I explore here. Black metal emerges as a consistently-used but surprisingly malleable musical form which (mostly) young men around the world take up to explore intersecting broad questions of identity, colonialism, and Indigeneity.  Articulation is a powerful analytic for understanding the permutations of global music culture (Straw, 1991; DeNora, 2011), but the present case reveals its limitations as well.  To listen to Gyibaaw is to begin to appreciate the importance of place in Indigenous articulations of popular music. In this frame, ‘place’ is not simply another element that can be attached to musical expression, but a central conceptual anchoring. “It is a profound misunderstanding,” 180  explains Coulthard (2014: 61), “to think of land or place as simply some material object of profound importance to Indigenous cultures (although it is this too); instead it ought to be understood as a field of “relationships of things to each other.” This is doubtlessly true of political claims as it is of artistic expression. “A profound sense of place,” Stephen Leuthold (1998) notes, “which grows out of the linkage between the spiritual and the natural, is at the center of Indigenous aesthetics” (183).  Hall’s approach to articulation, while keenly attentive to the always situated character of cultural formations, needs to be amended with a deeper consideration of ‘place.’ The music I discuss here is not only place-specific, but as would be explained to me time and time again, governed by the connective features of place: the land, life, and history of Gitga’ata.74     The adjustment I make is one of conceptual specification. It is important to insist that Gyibaaw is not simply as an ‘Indigenous’ articulation, but a Gitga’ata articulation too. It is a “grounded articulation” is the sense that it remains rooted in, and not just emergent from, the channels, trails, and lifeways of Gitga’ata.75 Perhaps the clearest statement Jeremy and Spencer offered of the band’s legacies – of its enduring meaning to them – was this statement from Jeremy Pahl: “Gyibaaw is about a homecoming” (Pahl, Pers. Comm.). My provisional suggestion, “grounded articulation,” means to acknowledge their conviction on the importance of                                                74 Hall’s ambivalence regarding ‘place’ in articulation, e.g. as necessarily more than context, is likely born of personal history. A 2007 interview is revealing: “I felt out of place in Jamaica, and when I came to England I felt out of place in Merton College, Oxford, and I feel out of place even now. I feel out of place in relation to the British, which might sound a very strange thing because I’ve lived here for 50-something years. I know the different kinds of English, the British people, I know how the society works from the inside. I love parts of the landscape.” 75 A similar idea is posed by Anishnaabe writer Leanne Simpson (2014), and her notion of “ecologies of intimacy.” This is the idea that indigenous spatial practice is socially and historically changeable, but consistently localized and particular in orientation.  In proposing such a linkage, however, it is important to include some caveats. Neither Gyibaaw nor a vast majority of Indigenous black metal bands appear engaged in decolonizing conceptualizations of gender, an essential practice for feminist resurgence theorists (McKegney 2014; Simpson 2016).   181  place. It also means to join with scholarship that elsewhere affirms how place can operate as the substantive ‘truth’ of Indigenous political thought, whether as “grounded normativity” (Coulthard, 2014), “grounded authority” (Pasternak, 2017), or simply epistemologies that are “land based and very much tied to that intimate and close relationship to the land” (Simpson, quoted in Klein, 2013). As Steven Feld wonderfully demonstrated (1982), a song can exist at the centre of the study of ecology; a combination of biography and knowledge of place, a ‘feeling’ saturated with attachment and relation. Through the language of black metal, Gyibaaw pursued “grounded articulations” that ‘re-storied’ an ostensibly Canadian North Coast with the legends and histories of the Gitga’at First Nation. The band modelled the spirit of resurgence, connecting personal musical expressions with broader lineages of Indigenous refusal, pride, and creativity.   To understand why an articulation succeeds, fails, and becomes reworked, it is essential to remark upon context. Here, another of Hall’s guiding concepts is useful: conjuncture. For Hall, a conjuncture is a “period when different social, political, economic and ideological contradictions that are at work in society and have given it a specific and distinctive shape come together, producing a crisis of some kind” (Hall and Massey, 2012: 55). Conjuncture implies a theory of historical change, whereby “history moves from one conjuncture to another rather than being an evolutionary flow (2012: 55). In taking up Hall, Clark (2010) suggests conjunctures are moments “where different temporalities come together;” like historical storm centers (342). The conjuncture is the condensation; the “accumulation of tendencies, forces, antagonisms and contradictions” that generate the “uncertainty and possibility” through which history is experienced (Clarke, 2010: 342).   182   Conjunctures are routinely counter-posed to ‘crises’, which mark the heightened state of affairs conjunctures bring about. The varied events in France referred to as ‘1968’ are a famous conjunctural crisis; e.g. a time when seemingly various historically durable articulations were suddenly thrown into disarray (Watts, 2001).  In this chapter, I suggest that the conjunctural moment of Gyibaaw is best defined as “resurgence,” a political movement among Canada’s Indigenous peoples, marked by shared sensibilities and political ambitions (Alfred, 2005; Simpson, 2013; Coulthard, 2014). As with 1968, “resurgence” is not only about the arrival of new political voices and energies on the political scene, but the overwhelming of a previous symbolic order (one long opposed by Indigenous peoples) built on liberal accommodation. All of this carries political and material consequences. A “careful observer” might hear in Gyibaaw’s harsh sonic forms the “pulse of a fresh stimulus and the coming combat” taken up in resurgence-based movements like Idle No More (Fanon, 1961: 47).76   Articulation and conjuncture interrelate and shape each other in powerful ways. Tania Li (2000) suggests that: “the conjunctures at which (some) people come to identify themselves as Indigenous… are the contingent products of agency and the cultural and political work of articulation” (151). Articulations are formed and enabled by the historical conjunctures in which they operate. If the idea of articulation identifies acts of joining together, the concept of conjuncture highlights mutual relations and effects. There is thus a dialectical tension where                                                76 One self-describde Indigenous fan wrote this on Facebook wall (shared with me): “Gyibaaw is a beast that conquers all boundaries and expectations in metal. They hold true to their past and their people. Lyrically, and musically they destroy and leave an impression that, for me, is pure, true, and righteous” (Brown 2009). Although it is almost always a mistake to conclusively define musical listenership along gendered lines, or to take the visibility at scene-gatherings as an indication of audience, multiple data sources (interviews, websites, blogs) suggest that it is primarily non-Indigenous and self-identified Indigenous men, roughly age-equivalent to the band members (e.g. late teens-early twenties) who make up the body of Gyibaaw’s Indigenous fan base.  183  articulations and conjunctures are mutually co-produced. Specifically, this chapter seeks to examine Gyibaaw, articulation, and conjuncture within the context of black metal and Indigenous politics in Canada.  To do this, it is necessary to better understand the forms and idea the music to which they would articulate.     Articulating Moments in Black Metal   The modern man has lost his connection to the soil of his forefathers. The modern man's connection to his forefathers and the gods of his blood is lost too. He travels all across the Earth as a creature with no roots anywhere. - Varg Vikernes, aka Burzum, 2004 Roots! Roots! Bloody Roots! -     Sepultura, 1996             For Indigenous artists around the world, black metal is an effective vehicle for the musical articulation of Indigenous identity. Consider this statement, from a blog-post titled: “Understanding black metal; a Native American point of view.” The author is anonymous but identifies as Indigenous: “As a Shawnee Indian I believe our people’s history, spirituality and suffering prepares us to understand Black metal better than most Americans,” they begin:   Black metal tends to open spiritual doors; being evil or good. Its ambience and brutality resonates in the regions that most cannot see. The regions what us Shawnee call the spirit world, or spirit place. I believe Black metal taps into this opaque and mysterious place. This hidden place, the region between the light and darkness is understood by the world’s Indigenous 184  cultures; being Scandinavian or American. Black metal is a lifestyle and a medium for spirituality in the truest sense of the word. The proof lies in the corpse paint championed by the Scandinavian Black metal bands. Our people donned the same basic style of paint as did many other Indigenous cultures. Black metal’s grandfather is nature, its mother is spirituality, its father is brutality and its children are a combination of all three (“Understanding Black Metal,” 2010).   What is clear for this author is that certain aspects of black metal – its harshness, its opacity, its spirituality – are uniquely articulable to Indigenous identity. An intrinsic connection exists between the music and a spirituality, identity, history, people. The author is not alone in feeling this way. There are hundreds of the black metal bands playing around the world today that self-identify as Indigenous, and propose connections like the ones noted above.77 The resulting idea, an Indigenous black metal echoing around the globe in different vibrations and grounded distortions, is surely a remarkable development in the recent history of popular music. And yet, despite the global range of scene-based, ethnographic studies of heavy metal (for reviews, see: Berger, 1999; Wallach, 2011; Kahn-Harris et al., 2016), and the proliferating theoretically-focused work on black metal, nature and identity politics (Kahn-Harris, 2004; Noys, 2009; Prescott-Steed, 2014; Norton, 2014), we remain without an explicit study of Indigenous black metal music. As Clinton and Wallach (2015) note, “Metal history has been bleached by an ideological project of musical whitening that has become shriller and more                                                77 See: Bands upload their own biographies and thus have the opportunity to self-identify as Indigenous.  185  strident as “black” genres (namely hip hop and electronic dance music, viewed as hostile) have commanded a larger market share” (2015: 275).78      Black metal is an exemplary instance of a negotiated cultural form in Hall’s (2017) sense. It is a shifting and competing set of articulations, differentially located and practiced; unstable and rife with tension. Harmonically, black metal is characterized by the same “extremely distorted electric guitar” (Walser, 1993: 47) that typifies most heavy metal, but it is distinctive in important ways too. Notable is its avoidance of heavy metal’s characteristic diatonic or blues- based forms in favor of non-diatonic “tri-tones” and minor (flat) seconds, one of a series of conceptual inversions and harmonic dis-articulations from its genre forbearers (Moynihan and Soderlind, 1998). Instead of chugging riffs, black metal guitarists utilize tremolo picking and minor chords to create cold atmospheres, evoking dimly-lit landscapes and animate presences (Podoshen et al., 2014: 208). Key here is the routine obscuring of the tonal center, resulting in a sound that feels chaotic and unstable (Berger, 1999: 166). Mood is thus key to black metal, and mood is often dark and ghostly. This sense of instability is furthered by the vocal stylings of the black metal singer, who deploys screams, whispers, and grunts in favor of the singing or shouting of heavy metal (Kahn-Harris, 2004). This theatrical delivery style tends to heighten the sense of the eerie and arcane captured in the chordal structures. Anchoring the sweeping and resonant sounds of guitar and voice is the black metal “blast-beat”; a percussive figure Hagen (2011: 186) describes as “a standard rock beat sped up to a frenetic tempo until the drums begin to bear an uncanny resemblance to a prolonged burst of machinegun fire.”                                                78 Searching for “black metal” in December 2014 using Google Trends, a feature which attempts to quantify interest in search terms, Clinton and Wallach (2015) found the five countries with the highest results per capita were either South East Asian or Latin American: 1. El Salvador, 2. Indonesia, 3. Nicaragua, 4. Honduras, 5. Guatemala. 186   Black metal eschews the melodic and Blues-originated features of it forbearers, and the “jocular frat-boy aesthetics” they connect with in heavy metal (Prescott-Steed 2014: 46). In their musical evolution, many black metal bands re-enact this rejection moment, describing their compositions and approaches as a blackening of a previously coherent form (usually death metal) (Moynihan and Solderlind 1998; Hagen, 2011). A blackened sound is one in which more recognizable elements disappear into the mix – a clear bassline for example, the pitch-distinction between vocals and guitars – resulting in a mass of inchoate sound. Norm Maclean, Gyibaaw’s bassist, writes: “With Gyibaaw, [Jeremy and Spencer] started out doing death metal. Then it was blackened death metal, you know, more atmospheric. And now I think of it more as a straight black metal band” (Maclean, Pers. Comm.). For the musicians I spoke to, blackening distorts ideas as it articulates. It is about entering a dark space, one which veils the meanings that a musical gesture purports to express – usually in a fog of noise. “It’s the harshness, the atmospheric feeling that makes black metal,” Norm explains. “I like the fact that you can’t understand what’s going on [lyrically]. Its creepy!” (Maclean, Pers. Comm.).    187    Figure 5. 1 Norm McLean, bassist, Gyibaaw. Skeena River 2011. Photo Credit: Unknown. Used with permission.  If black metal provides grist for the articulation of a range of identities, black metal nevertheless maintains a denotative ‘pose’ – a physical positioning that occurs in relation to a particular set of sounds (Mann, 2008). The pose is the performative act of articulating, akin to the ‘style’ Hall and Jefferson (1976) consider in their studies of British youth subculture, but preferable for its emphasis on gesture. The photograph of Norm Maclean in Figure 5.1 – solitary, ritualistic (e.g. his gesturing of the black metal ‘claw’), immersed in a dark and shadowy landscape – embodies the black metal pose. Much more than a display of insider-status (although it is this too), this pose suggests a kind of contemplation; as if a certain transmission between the musical subject and the broader socio-natural environment is occurring (c.f. Ritts 2017b). At a time of profound environmental anxiety, the enigmatic qualities of the black metal pose and its atavistic element – e.g. suggestion of unknown forces, hooded-gaze, premonitions of “dark 188  ecology” (Morton 2016) – hold considerable symbolic power. Just as much as sound, pose has facilitated black metal’s inclusion into a range of contemporary cultural debates and concerns.79    Many writers have read black metal’s esotericism as a form of hostility toward liberal norms and modes of comportment (Kahn-Harris, 2004; Morton, 2013). It continues an aesthetic tradition that has long inspired the Western avant-garde – to shock, disrupt, and epater la bourgeoisie. Other scholars have engaged the death tropes black metal routinely adopts: decay, failure, abjection (Noys 2009; Morton, 2014; Daniel, 2014). From here, black metal’s dismissal of mainstream society begins to describe a broader political valence, one that detaches it from the exclusive purview of white middle class escapism. It is also possible to read the harsh clamor of black metal as a symbol of irreducible cultural difference in the world today (e.g. Goodrick-Clark, 2002; Spacklen 2009). Following David Novak’s work on noise music (2013, 2015), we might listen to black metal as an expression of modernity’s failures. In particular, the black metal hiss and static common to recording style can likened to modernity’s misfiring promise to smoothly translate ‘culture’ from one context to another (see also: Chapter 2). Insofar as the black metal pose refuses to gesture clearly, and “turns away” from mainstream appeals (Coulthard, 2014), its “epistemic disobedience” (Mignolom 2011) might also suggest resources for articulating Indigenous politics. The refusals of black metal might map onto a broader                                                79 In recent years, black metal has enjoyed a considerable interest from subcultural communities not normally associated with ‘extreme’ music genres.  The international art-world has become entrained to its relentless engagement with Romantic anti-modernism (e.g. Helvete, 2014). Scholars have associated it with debates around the Anthropocene (Morton, 2013); deep ecology (Wilson 2014); totalitarianism (Noys, 2009); and queer theory (Daniel, 2014). This diversity has to do with the malleability of the sonic materials; a black metal that is tolerant of mess and easy to forge, that requires little of the money and expertise demanded of heavy metal or even rock and roll (Podoshen et al., 2013). 189  refusing of liberalism’s universalist agenda (Simpson 2014), or a disregard for its colonial fantasies of pure, unmediated indigeneity (Raibmon, 2005; Scales, 2012).  Consider again the pose in Figure 5.1, and the different ways it “blurs the parts together:” the mood of the landscape, reflected in the body; the liminality between   terrestrial reality and metaphysics, evoked by the claw; the shadows creeping around the edges of the frame. What all of this suggests, then, and what neatly complements with drums, guitar and voice, is a particular rejection of recognition itself. Instead, Indigenous black metal revels in the “cacophony” caused by the clashing of identities under colonialism. For Byrd (2011), the “representational logics” of indigeneity function through forms of distortion and enact perpetual alternations of the expected. It is not surprising that Western audiences have paid so little attention to Indigenous black metal (2011: 76). The very connection seems unlikely, and perhaps even “unintelligible” as an audiopolitics (Simpson, 2000: 112). And yet, black metal assumes powerful resonances to Martineau and Ritskes (2014), and their proposition that “fugitive” practices inform contemporary systems of Indigenous art-making. In Western colonial contexts that routinely ignore, oppress, and violently affront the ambitions of young Indigenous men, making black metal music suggests “not an abdication of contention and struggle,” but “a reorientation toward freedom in movement, against the limits of colonial knowing and sensing” (Martineau and Ritskes 2014: iv).80                                                    80 I would submit that the world’s first black metal-head is the solitary white male of Caspar David Friedrich’s Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (The Wanderer Above the Sea Of Fog) (1818), who stands atop a stormy mountain while gazing into mist-filled lands below.    190   “Our lyrical content is an expression of our culture and spirituality,” Gyibaaw announced in a 2010 tour statement:   We live it, and we acknowledge the fact that it goes back thousands of years. The lyrics are about 60-75% in “Sm’algyax,” which is the language of the Tsimshian people. By using our ancient language, MUCH more feeling can be expressed about our homeland, the ancient spirits, our warrior culture, the natural world around us, and all creatures who dwell on this Earth.”  Consider a third time the pose in Figure 1. For all its swirling movement and intensity, Norm’s posture is a grounded one.  It is not insignificant that he chose to demonstrate his fidelity to black metal on the banks of the Skeena River – this is the waterway that has historically connected the Territories of Norm’s Gitksan people to the Tsimshian along the Coast (which include the Gitga’at). Likewise, Jeremy and Spencer’s decision to write black metal lyrics in Sm’algyax was a grounded articulation, tying musical expression to land. Each gesture acquires “much more feeling” because it is situated, emplaced. For Spencer, this is what gives Gyibaaw its power:   When we play the music of Gyibaaw, We truly believe we are bringing something in. An entity. Whenever we call on the naxnox, we get shivers everywhere. Because it’s a real spiritual thing. It’s in our belief that those spirits come and take a form and possess certain things…    “One of the central challenges for colonized Indigenous peoples in North America,” Scales (2012: 259) suggests, “is how to make sense of and mediate between the discourses of 191  modernity and tradition.” Black metal provides a strategy: it allows Norm and Jeremy and Spencer to insist on the uniqueness of their articulation, to aver there is no Gyibaaw without Gitga’at and Gitksan, and to have this message circulate in dialogues whose extent is as global as Indigeneity itself (Yeh and Bryan, 2015). The pose of Indigenous black metal is necessarily a kind of grounded articulation, standing aside the local and the global. This is a theme we consistently find in the genre: in the ‘Indian black metal’ of Rudra, whose members define themselves as “the dawn of Vedic metal”; Peru-based Indoraza, who fuse anti-Christianity and colonization in a depiction of their Andean homeland; Xibalba Itzaes, who recall the Itzaes people that inhabited Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. So too is the language of Indigenous black metal routinely rooted in place: thus Gyibaaw’s “Itlee Tsimshian” (I am of Tsimshian Blood), or the Aanishnabe “Maji- Jibwa Wiisangendam” from a band with the same name; or the central message of Yaotl Mictlan (Mexico): “Que hacer orgullosos de su pasado para enfrentar la lucha que viene”: Take pride in your past to face the struggle to come. These artists are using contemporary music to engage in what Tonawanda Seneca scholar Mishuanna Goeman (2013) calls a “remapping” of Indian space. Musically, they are connecting with histories of the land that colonization has sought to cover up.    Writing of the mid twentieth century Canadian context, Beverly Diamond (2005) suggests that it was common for Indigenous musicians to de-emphasize their heritage in order to achieve commercial success. Conversely, Indigenous black metal musicians are often extremely open about their Indigenous identity – to the point of confrontational directness at live shows (Greening, Pers. Comm.). In several interviews, Gyibaaw members and I discussed the historical disposition of the Canadian state towards Indigenous music. We discussed, for example, the 192  musical prohibitions Anglican missionary William Duncan had imposed within his missionaries up and down the North Coast.  We also discussed everyday racism in Prince Rupert, and the “fact that Indigenous people are so often invisible in political debates there” (Greening. Pers. Comm.; see also Chapter 3). As they were refining their approach to Gyibaaw, Spencer and Jeremy were taking classes at UNBC in the First Nations Studies Department. They read about Duncan’s efforts to discredit Indigenous attunements to “voices from afar” (such as spiritual forces) and ceremonial singing as “devil worship” (Tomlinson 1993). They asked their grandfather and their relatives to fill in the gaps that were beginning to perforate their worldview. “We were angry,” Spencer explain of that education period. “We were angry at the Church, and Canada, and at the history of colonization of our peoples. And we wanted to learn more about it and express our anger about it” (Greening, Pers. Comm.).    A reaction to colonial legacies of “imposing harmony” (Baker 2008), Gyibaaw was to be “alive with spirituality” (Greening, Pers. Comm.), and “stories from the land” (Pahl, Pers. Comm.). Like many Indigenous black metal projects, Gyibaaw routinely featured traditional drumming: “We wanted traditional drums and beats to be the backbone and the heart-beat of everything,” Spencer notes (Greening, Pers. Comm.) and Tsimshian flute (which assumed the standard tuning reference in their compositions). The opening track of their debut album Ancesstral War Hymns (2009) is “Gyitwaalkt” [Sm’algyax for ‘warrior’]. Here, the traditional goat-skin pounds through a densely cacophonous rhythmic space, progressively overtaking the accompanying drum-kit by the completion of the song. As Martinez-Alier (2003: viii) notes, “ecological conflicts are fought out in many languages.” Gyitwaalkt marked the commencement of the anti-colonial warfare explored throughout Ancestral War Hymns. “Prepare For War” and 193  “Wilduu Spagaytgangan,” each seething with Jeremy’s vocal growls, were connected to struggles around the Enbridge Northern Gateway project (Pers. Comm. Pahl). On “Nekt”, Gyibaw unsettled the Canadian State’s National Heritage Site designation of “Battle Hill” (aka. Kitwanga), re-telling the story of the site of a legendary Gitksan stronghold. To research “Nekt,” the band contacted members of the Gitksan Nation to ask permission to explore the topic. They incorporated story details Gitksan members (including bassist Norm Maclean’s family) give them permission to use. On “Nekt” as on other songs, black metal reverberation gesture toward the acoustic context of Gyibaaw’s soundings, the Indigenous spaces of the North Coast.    It is a limitation of this project that I never saw Gyibaaw perform live. According to some recollections of people who saw them, their musical articulations were discoveries; the song was not the objectified result, but the process of “identity work” (DeNora, 2000). Their confidence seemed to grow after each set; “they used to suck but got really really good,” noted one Prince George show promoter (Seslija, Pers. Comm.). At black metal shows in Toronto and Montreal, Gyibaaw were “Indians in Unexpected Places (DeLoria, 2004), routinely playing in front of audiences with very few (if any) Indigenous people. Jeremy and Spencer told me how they loved to perform “Ueesoo,” (Sm’algyax for ‘canoe’) in such places: “The first thing you would see in an upcoming battle is the war canoe,” Greening told me, “Music was always a part of warfare and that’s what inspired it. That’s why its so totally intense.” “Ueesoo” was also a re-articulation of an old black metal theme. It played on the walking trope common to black metal (Prescott-Steed 2014).81 It was a transposition of the Euro-Romantic mobility (walking) modeled in                                                81 Walking imagery, Prescott-Steed notes is a common black metal means of drawing attention to “the meaningfulness of the journey” with its “aura of solitude and endurance… of confrontation with the unknown” (2013: 47). 194  Burzum’s albums to a world of war canoes. Spencer and Jeremy’s journey through the crashing waves of their Traditional Territory demanded a time signature of varying tempi and pulses. In this way, it also drew from personal experience.  In 2008, Spencer and Jeremy became first-time participants in “Gathering Strength,” the annual Indigenous canoe journeys that feature up and down the Coast every summer (Brown and Brown, 2009). “I remember the way they [Spencer and Jeremy] stood out,” one Hartley Bay resident, Mary Danes, told me. “All these teenagers canoeing, wearing normal clothes… and then them with black leather jackets and long hair!” (Danes, Pers. Comm.). Danes saw that what black metal could provide to teenagers looking to combine musical self-discovery with connection to their Territory.  But just as important for her was another articulating move: the abiding presence of the community. Danes and others in the community I spoke to recognized that Gyibaaw was articulating with the living Gitga’ata community, and not just an idea of the Territory. Other Gitga’ata knew what Gyibaaw was trying to do; they were consulted, invited to listen, and did (C. Pahl Greening, Pers. Comm.; J. Pahl, Pers. Comm.; C. Ridley, Pers. Comm.).     In articulating black metal, Indigenous musicians embrace what Jodi Byrd (2011) calls “post-colonial contradiction.” They routinely cite Indigenous traditions, stories, and spirits as musical touchstones, while simultaneously drawing from the black metal “pantheon” of Mayhem, Burzum, Bathory, Darkthrone, and Emperor. They wear t-shirts of Neo-Nazi bands, and cultivate relationships with white supremacist black metal fans through pen-pal exchanges and tape trades (Greening, Pers. Comm.).  At the same time, they insist on their political differences, articulating with some elements of these engagements (e.g. the rejection of Christian morality and liberal multiculturalism), and rejecting others (e.g. white supremacy). Black metal’s 195  filiations with Nazism and white ethno-nationalism are well-known; (Kahn-Harris 2004, 2007). internationally, the music remains linked to the moral panics set off by several black-metal inspired murders in Scandinavia in the early 1990s (Moynihan and Soderlind, 1998).82 But black metal is also the sonic material out of which thousands of Indigenous people explore identity – and many of their stories, struggles, and creative acts remain unappreciated. “If music was intimately involved in the setting and selling of expectations of Indigeneity,” Philip DeLoria notes (2004: 188), it is also true that Indigenous people “were involved in recording, contesting, affirming, transforming, controlling, and performing those expectations in critical ways.”   To understand the significance of these black metal articulations, is it useful to move to another site of critique and analysis, related to articulation: that of conjuncture.      Indigenous Black Metal as a Conjunctural Sound  Consider the following exchange, which I came across in a thread on the Metal Archives is revealing. First, “Tuscon Metalhead,” announces his intention to start a band:                                                   82 Burzum, probably the most famous Black Metal project, is fronted by Varg Vikerness, an ‘out’ Nazi imprisoned since 1994 for torching two Norweigan Stave churches and murdering his former bandmate, Øystein Aarseth. 196  Ok I was going to start a black metal band with native American lyrics from old stories or the mythology and use some native instruments the bands name was going to be “Tokpella” an endless space in Hopi mythology but I wanted to know what peoples thoughts on this if its worth trying? and I am full blooded native american san carlos apache!”  Another poster, ‘Cursarion,’ responds:   “If you're a Native American yourself, go ahead, it'll be very interesting. If you're just an American, you're a fucking poser (don't do it).  Next comes a third poster, Voice of Reason, complicating the analysis further:  If you're a native American yourself, go ahead, it'll be very interesting.  If you're just an American, you're a fucking poser (don't do it).  “Just like those Finns who sing about vikings, eh?”       (all quotes from Metal Archives, 2009) Such debates and competing claims to authenticity of the sound are common across black metal communities. They routinely shaped my conversations with Gyibaaw, as when Spencer remarked on the propensity for black metal bands to use ‘wolf’ tropes in their imagery and lyrics:   197  A lot of the Black Metal bands look on wolves like snakes. They are the bad guys in the Bible. Black metal people are about taking the bad guy and making it scary. This pissed me off because we have a legitimate relation to the Gyibaaw. And some people treat it like a cartoon.   The articulations Indigenous musicians pursue with black metal are connected to broader historical determinations. In order to understand Gyibaaw’s impact, including the successes and failure of the articulations they pursued, we need to understand how the politics of music and of Indigeneity entwined in the conjuncture Gyibaaw operated within. Most broadly, we can recognize that their music, and Indigenous black metal in general, rang out during a particular phase in the history of musical modernity: when “distortion begins to be perceived in terms of power rather than failure” (Walser, 1993: 42; c.f. Novak, 2014). It also resounded with more recent technical developments in the global music scene, in particular the digitization that reshaped the globalization of local music scene in new ways (like many bands starting out in the mid-Aughts, Gyibaaw used a MySpace account communicate with fans in Europe and South America). Finally, and especially noteworthy during the band’s successful late stage, the conjunctural moment would see the rise to mainstream prominence of ever more esoteric sub-cultures and identifications, a late modern millenarianism (Parenti, 2010). For David Joselit (2016), writing under the acknowledged influence of Harvey (1989), the contemporary rise of cultures of “authenticity” is both a response to the “flattening of the world” presented by the global spread neoliberal art infrastructures, and an accelerant for the circulation and consumption of such art.  In surveying the caste of fiercely anti-modern cultures that populate a crowded liberal mainstream, one is reminded of the incomparable language Marx used in the Eighteenth Braumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852):  198  The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language (quoted in Marx and Engels 1977: 226).   Gyibaaw’s music anticipates this moment. Their music would ring out at a time when ‘Indigeneity’ – the idea of attachment to a fixed area of land; with a connection that marks a people as distinct (Yeh and Bryan, 2015) – was been problematized in profound ways.83 It would speak to the emergence among various Coastal First Nations peoples of new nationalist sentiments, whose corresponding identities Nadasdy (2012: 520) defines as “ethno-territorial.” From the North Coast and from across the country, a new generation of Indigenous thinkers, artists, and activists have also emerged, collectively shattering consensus expectations about Indigenous peoples in Canada. This politics has been defined as “resurgence,” and it involves a range of Indigenous viewpoints, decolonial practices, and community articulations (Coulthard, 2014; Simpson, 2013; Corntassel, 2012). ‘Resurgence’ helps to distinguish Gyibaaw from some of the audiopolitics I’ve been concerned with here. While ecologically concerned, “resurgence” theorists are skeptical of liberal environmentalism, and its often dubious claims to ecological solidarity with First Nations (Raibmon 2005). While often supportive of science, they are aware                                                83 For Bryan and Yeh, “The origins of Indigenism are generally traced to lobbying by “first peoples” in countries that experienced settler colonialism and are now dominated by populations of European descent: The United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia (2015: 534).  By the 1990s, groups in every part of the world were using the term “indigenous peoples” to articulate claims to land, resources, and self-determination. 199  of the colonial logics that course through histories of expertise (Simpson 2000). The experiences of ‘Urban Indigeneity’ are likewise noted for the alienating and disabling experiences they routinely demand of Indigenous artists (Woloshyn 2014). When Gyibaaw started playing in 2007, “resurgence” was more or less imperceptible to the liberal Canadian ear. The rapid rise to audibility of Indigenous resurgence less than a decade later was not spontaneous, but carries with it a whole legacy of efforts to grind away at settler common sense (e.g. Manuel, 2016). One expression of these efforts is the music of young Indigenous artists, and groups like Gyibaaw.  It is only possible to understand the significance of Gyibaaw and the significance of its articulations by listening against its historical conjuncture. When Gyibaaw formed in 2006, Canadian Indigenous peoples were subjected to the predations of a Canadian state desperate to increase its reliance on export-led industrialization, and whose Conservative party leader Stephen Harper insisted that “Canada has no history of colonialism” even as he sought increased access to Indigenous lands to carry out his policies (O’Keefe, 2009).1 What Harper sought to cover up was the recognition of a foundational violence, one which gestures toward the historical experience that most distinguishes Indigenous black metal from its Euro-American equivalent. Whereas European and Anglo-American black metal was a middle-class response to set of deindustrialized landscapes (Weinstein, 1990), Indigenous black metal routinely emerges from and operates within contexts of ongoing industrialization.84 This conjunctural fact connects                                                84 “The supreme irony of the early 90s Norwegian black metal scene,” notes Kahn-Harris, “was that it was dependent on location within a country where devoting one’s life to metal is easy due to the strength of state support (through education, social security etcetera)” (quoted in Springer et al. 2014). As I write this in 2017, black metal is being subsumed into the art-capitalism nexus across Europe and North America. There are now black metal ‘conferences’ at university business schools (e.g. Modern Heavy Metal: Markets, Practices and Cultures 2015; Grimposium 2014); and government-sponsored black metal museums (e.g. Rockheim 2014; 200  Gyibaaw to the musical histories of Illapa (Peru); Akvan (Iran); and Demogoroth Satanum (South Africa). It makes an Indigenous band engaging in “grounded articulation” about far more than a symbolic reference. Instead, the resulting cacophony is a statement of pride and the “feel of precarious living” (Tsing, 2015: 98); and together a matter of what Vizenor (2008) calls “survivance” – an expression that affirms the continued presence of indigeneity in the world.   If entrenched political economies and histories of colonialism shape the way Indigenous black metal is made, experienced, and circulated around the world, Indigenous black metal is simultaneously defined by more localized movements and shifts. When Gyibaaw disbanded in 2013, Canada’s prevailing approach to its Indigenous peoples, as embodied in the politics of Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party, had being thrown into disarray –most dramatically in the Idle No More protests (Kino-nda-niimi Collective, 2014). Since then, a ‘restorative’ multicultural Canada has emerged, replete with a Prime Minster who “smudges” (Simpson, 2015) and host of new arts council funding packages. Popular media interest Indigenous art-making has grown markedly – shaped in turn by a growing presence of Indigenous political leaders in national media. Leaning on Twitter feeds and journalist reportage to make this conjecture, it appears that Indigenous popular musicians are beginning to experience long-awaited popular attention and media coverage, with new musical cross-fertilizations enabled by the ever-deepening penetration of social media in rural and agrarian regions (Dunn, 2006; Roche, 2015; Woloshyn 2015). Gyibaaw’s music rang out just as an “Indigenous New Wave” (Martineau 2017) was beginning to break into Canadian popular consciousness. At Nisga’at Hall                                                Even after visits from Vice TV, local scenes in South America and Indonesia continue to exist with little if any patronage from state arts councils and receive scant local media attention. 201  in Prince Rupert (2010), and at The Rickshaw in Vancouver (2011), they made land acknowledgements to local Indigenous hosts and drew cheers from the crowd (Adams 2011). On tour in South America (2009), they experienced unforgettable enthusiasm for their interpretation of black metal. “I remember the crowds,” Spencer begins,   In Ecuador it was these Indigenous farming communities who came out. We stayed at this barn in this big bunkhouse. I remember we were playing soccer with all the kids. These 6 year olds with Destroyer 666 shirts on [An Australian Black Metal band]. And then we played this show with two local bands and like 500 people showed up. It was just nuts. The way they were dancing and cheering us on was incredible.   In South America, and in many parts of North America, black metal might well have been a soundtrack to local expressions of Indigenous resurgence. But it has equally taken up by proponents of white ethno-nationalism operating in these contexts. The possible co-occurrence of these scenes at black metal shows is intimated in Figure 5.2, taken from a show in Kamloops, in 2010. Jeremy represents the Tsimshian Nation, his bandmate Norm Maclean demonstrates fidelity to Burzum – the infamous Nazi-sympathizing band fronted by Varg Vikernes. For Norm and Jeremy, there is nothing unremarkable about the juxtaposition. The organizational expressions of white ethno-nationalist movements have long operated in the context of black metal shows, as well as zines, blogs, and online message-boards (Kahn-Harris,   202         Figure 5. 2 Gyibaaw, live at “Little Big House.” Kamloops, BC 2010. Photo credit: unknown. Used with permission.  2007; Spracklen 2009).85 Still, the last five to ten years contain evidence of growing white power recruitment within Canada’s black metal scene and scenes across North American and Europe (Gallant 2015; Podoshen et al. 2014). This idea was seconded by several Gyibaaw members (one of whom [Spencer] took me to a Mayhem show in Vancouver 2016 and proceeded to identify several Nazi-praising fans within the first 10 minutes) (Greening, Pers. Comm.; Pahl, Pers. Comm.). The growing presence of both Indigenous people and white ethno nationalists at black metal shows by the mid-Aughts reflects an evolving conjunctural terrain.  While some skinheads and Nazis refused to engage with them (Greening, Pers. Comm.), many found common cause with Gyibaaw. It easy to see how Gyibaaw’s radical political critique could be misread by diametrically opposed groups; as Stephen B. Smith (2016) shows, ideological inversions between radically opposed groups has long structured the experience of modernity. At black                                                 203  metal shows, the musical themes Gyibaaw had re-articulated – their commitment to ritual, community, land-based spirituality – were re-articulated again, pulled back into the semiotic orbit of white patriarchy (Hache, Pers. Comm.; Hadberg, Pers. Comm.). “Nazis were fascinated with Gyibaaw,” Lee Van Der Kamp, a friend of the band and one-time member recalls,   They would come up to Jeremy after shows and praise him. There was always a weird disconnect where they were in awe of Gyibaaw, but they didn’t want to know too much. They would be all reverent. ‘You guys are so extreme,’ ‘You are really delving into their culture’, they would say, but they didn’t want to know what that means.   Clearly, black metal cannot be so easily dismissed as a “blank parody” of aesthetic forms (Jameson, 1993).  And yet the symbolic terrain of black metal reveals that articulations, whatever their intention, are “without guarantees” (Hall, 1983). They connote no necessary correspondence between subject and identity. Gyibaaw’s dealings with white power bands were frequent. For bands like Inquisition and Goatmoon, black metal’s formal properties would be likewise reworked; a crucible for elastic reimagining of history (Kahn-Harris, 2004; Noys, 2009). After talking to various black metal insiders, I would submit that it was the frequently-remarked “authenticity” of Gyibaaw, their evident devotedness to a theme, that particularly Nazi sympathizers to them (Singh, Pers. Comm; Lennox, Pers. Comm.; Van der Kamp, Pers. Comm.). Such reverence, of course, fundamentally misrecognizes its object. It tunes Gyibaaw’s articulations toward political visions the band had nothing to do with. 86 In black metal, the                                                86 Of course, this tuning does not necessary appear in the form of lyrics or album art. The albums of any number of Nazi and fascist bands can be compared to Gyibaaw’s Ancestral War Hyms (2009), and found to contain a number of overlapping anti-modern themes: ressentiment, cultural globalization, desacralization, etc. The key difference lies 204  signifier is restless. The recent white ethno-nationalist articulation of “Indigenous European music” is revealing in this regard: one of its central exponents is the best known black metal musician of all: Varg Vikerness.   All of this affirms the idea that black metal-as-culture is a nothing if not a terrain of struggle – which precisely the reason insisted ‘culture’ comes to matter (Hall, 1988).  Nor is it accurate to present National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) and Indigenous black metal fans as opposites. A more complex engagement is at work here, as Spencer and Jeremy would observe with the pro-Indigenous anti-Semitic fans who came to their shows in Columbia and Ecuador (Greening, Pers. Comm.). Such tensions and contradictions illustrate some of the negotiations and conjunctural stakes of articulating indigeneity within an increasingly unstable music discourse. At a moment when popular music’s articulating capacities seem to have collapsed inward, Gyibaaw was an idealistic attempt to preserve music’s ability to signify. This conviction routinely led them into personal strife. In the middle of a 2011 tour with a successful US black metal band (Inquisition), Jeremy and Spencer discovered that they were playing shows with swastika adoring Nazis, who had temporarily secreted this identity to score cultural capital from Gyibaaw’s rising success. The tour ended in considerable controversy, and become a discussion flashpoint across the North American black metal scene (Gallant, 2015).87 ‘Identity’, then, was                                                in the audiopolitics they articulate (both inside and outside the music scene), and the way these politics articulate with the living communities to which the bands claim historical association. For fascist and Nazi articulations in black metal, see albums by Graveland (1995), Goatmoon (2003), Darkthrone (1994), and Burzum (2013).     87 For details of these online debates, see:;;;;;  205  also something the band had to withstand: it took the labor of refusal to maintain their commitments (Simpson, 2014). For Norm Maclean, “you get used to going to shows where that [Nazi] stuff is going on. It cans suck., but you just don’t worry about it, you just go and talk to who you want to, listen to what you want to listen to, and spread your message” (Maclean, Pers. Comm.). For Gyibaaw to broadcast Gitga’ata identity at a Nazi show was nevertheless also something its members took pride in; a performative “enjoyment in the reveal” perhaps, (Simpson, 2014: x) and one both enabled and sheltered by the significations of music. “I loved going to those shows wearing my Tsimshian patches, and saying fuck you to all the skinheads,” Spencer explained. “We knew what those guys were about, but they didn’t know anything about us and who we were” (Greening, Pers. Comm.).   In 2012, on the cusp of stardom, and with highly successful bands like Three Inches of Blood, Blasphemy, and Wolves in The Throne Room praising their band, Jeremy and Spencer stopped playing black metal. They had formed a new project rooted in old-thyme country, called The Saltwater Brothers.  Compared to Gyibaaw, The Saltwater Brothers made a calming music, one that articulated with different aspects of Indigenous culture. “We would always get together and just jam,” Cherill Pahl Greening, Spencer’s mother and Jeremy’s aunt, offered. “That’s just what our family would do. Everybody was singing. It was mostly country, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, that kind of thing.” The Saltwater Brothers marked a return to these stories, and as such, a renewal of the story and playful musical gesture of Johnny Clifton, their musical and familial relation (Spencer and Jeremy are great nephews of Chief Clifton). The sudden departure of Gyibaaw was not a sign that their decolonizing politics had waned, however. If anything, it evidence that the musical meanings articulations carry cannot be fixed forever (Samuels, 2004). 206  In the North Coast, the political valence of Indigenous black metal is different in 2007 than it is in 2017. Jeremy and Spencer recognized this, and would often speak of Gyibaaw’s early days as a time of relative innocence. Although I never received a definitive answer for the band’s breakup, it was apparent that the violent theatrics and tensions of the black metal scene – the confrontation with white power, most of all – had a demanded a period of cooling off, and pause for reflection.     Conclusion     Dene scholar Glen Coulthard (2014: 109) writes that “under certain conditions, Indigenous peoples’ anger and resentment can help prompt the very forms of self-affirmative practice that generate rehabilitated Indigenous subjectivities and decolonized forms of life in ways that the combined politics of recognition and reconciliation cannot.” In this chapter, I have suggested popular music as one of those conditions, using as my example the music of Gyibaaw. The band was search for Indigeneity-in-place that was also a sounding through place; a retracing and unearthing of Gitga’at lifeways on the North Coast.  In this context, there are good reasons for taking their music seriously. In Canada, the experiences of young Indigenous men rarely feature into official accountings of development. As Innes and Anderson (2015: 3) note, “there is little activism or political will to address Indigenous men’s issues, and as a result there are very few policies or social programs designed for Indigenous men.”88 Because their stories are so rarely circulated, or deemed worthy of sharing, it is necessary to enter unusual spaces, like black                                                88 It is telling that the Canadian state would only begin to entertain an inquiry into “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men” in 2016 (Talaga 2016). 207  metal, to recover some of the struggles and successes of young Indigenous men negotiating industrial development and deeper issues of settler colonialism.     The audiopolitics that Gyibaaw leaves us with is hopeful, but ambiguous. The band affirmed the meaningfulness of music, diagraming chains of meaning in the language of Gitga’ata. But the black metal ‘veil’ that cloaked their efforts, and made their sounds resistant to recognition and translation, was not secure. Black metal is dangerous to articulate with, given “all the grooves that have articulated it already” (Hall, 2017), but it offers powerful resources for self-actualization and decolonial modes of thinking and being, as Gyibaaw affirmed.  Perhaps it is the undeniable “war of position” that this music conveys – the competing expressions of nationhood, identity, anger, and homecoming it makes possible – that recommends it to so many Indigenous artists making sense of their worlds. More noise can be expected.    208  CHAPTER 6 - CONCLUSION  The North Coast I’ve presented here is an “abrupt edge of uneven globalization” (Kun, 2015). As a ‘resource frontier’ (Bridge, 2001) whose projected impacts have produced a range of anxious listenings, noisy oppositions, and “scientifically audited ecosystems” (Helmreich, 2015: 7), it is a site where the spatio-political orderings of diverse actors, both human and non-human, are colliding in rich and unexpected ways. In this dissertation, I have presented some of these collisions as ‘audio-politics’ (Denning, 2015), as politics mediated by diverse sonic acts, operating above and below the waterline. Owing to the institutional and territorial reconfigurations of the state and capital currently taking shape there in response to energy security concerns, the particular investments of BC conservationism and environmentalism (cetology, acoustic ecology) in listening, and the rich musical legacies that have long defined the region, the North Coast is a unique laboratory for sound studies.  But it is also more than a laboratory. It is a home for a diverse range of communities still struggling to make sense of an uncertain environmental future. In contemplating the scope of this project, I want to reflect in this concluding chapter on some of the contributions the dissertation has brought to geography, where my arguments could be pushed further, and also why sound studies might continue to matter for the communities living there. Let me first outline the main themes of the project and then consider the chapters in more detail.    The objective of this dissertation was to enlist sound studies in understanding the social geographies of energy-led development and environmental change on the North Coast. Less a detailed study of place than a place-based study of audiopolitics, it contended that sound studies 209  is an invaluable resource for social and political analysis. In particular, I have used sound to map out a series of connection points between large-scale development activity and local community formations experiencing uneven change.  From this perspective, I observed changes in the nature of these connections: both expansions and contractions in the limits of the audible, and ‘retunings’ of what is socially meaningful. Because these sonic engagements are power-laden, conflictual, and routinely shaped by external development interests, I argued that we can understand them as ‘audio-politics,’ borrowing the term from Michael Denning’s (2015) brilliant study of decolonization and 1920s gramophone music. Across distinct but interconnected case studies, I have examined acculturated “sense-making”: the listening, recording, responding, and playing of sound. Through such acts, different actors (conservationists, scientists, citizens, Indigenous musicians) negotiate some of the bewildering cross-currents that constitute their lived realities on the North Coast today.  At the same time, I have sought to bring a geographical perspective to audio-politics. Not only are the audio-politics I examine historically and geographically situated, they routinely bear the marks of space-making and place-making processes (Massey, 2005). From the incredible spatial enlargements enabled by a sounded ocean, to the grounded articulations of place-based Indigenous identity, audio-politics are persistently geographical politics too.     From my four case studies, three themes emerge. The first pertains to the human history of the senses. If, as the young Marx (1975: 301-2) famously suggested, “the forming of the five senses is a labor of the entire history of the world,” then the forming and reforming of the auditory to changing local environments stands as a fundamental labor of capitalist modernity. A central theme in this dissertation is the perpetual “tuning” of the human senses across different 210  sites of socio-natural engagement. I have argued that these processes are never neutral, but always bear the imprint of institutions, cultural-economic logics, and environmental changes.  By considering sound as a gateway of knowledge, an instrument of power, and a “shared property onto which many claims are made” (Labelle, 2011 xxiv), I have suggested the importance of linking sensory encounters to broader political struggles over place, identity, and power. As such, those struggles can be treated as artefacts disclosing changing relations between technologies, environments and the ‘everyday’ (Loftus, 2012).   For Marx and many Marxist thinkers (e.g. Adorno, Lukács, Gramsci, Hall), the alienation of the senses is a crucial consequence of the political domination of capital. In different ways, all of these thinkers argued that the emancipatory potentials of everyday life is rooted in the way that life is sensed, experienced, and reflected upon. In different ways, each thinker sought political programs for bringing into being a world defined by “the complete emancipation of all human senses and qualities” (Marx, 1977:100). This dissertation has sought to reflect critically on this tradition of Marxist thought by resituating the concerns of 'Western Marxism’ within the successive revolutions in the composition of sensory activity under contemporary capitalism (e.g. Benjamin, 1968; Crary, 2013). In observing the ‘hyper-sensuality’ of contemporary capitalism – e.g. the diverse ways in which globally-articulated sensory engagements, both human and non-human, are informing value chains and shaping political discourses – it appears that the conditions for an ‘emancipation of the senses” and with it, a release from social alienation, appears more unlikely than ever before. At the same time, insofar as the senses are crucial inputs into so many forms of bureaucratic practice, cultural activity, and economic 211  schemes of all sorts, the 'disarticulation’ of the senses from dominant capitalism logics are potentially productive for organizing collective resistance.     The second theme discussed in this dissertation, closely related to the first, is the growing social dependency on technologically mediated ways of knowing (see also: Parr, 2009). The North Coast in the years I explore (2007-2015) is something of a crucible for understanding that local responses to industrialization are contoured by shifts in longer processes of technological modernization.  The consolidation of new technologically-mediated governance structures – part of a broad cultural diffusion of new techno- economic paradigms based on information and digital communications (Haiven, 2014) – have transformed how local environmental changes are recorded, political conflicts are mediated, and all manner of agencies enlisted in a general state of development preparedness. As I explored in Chapter Two, capitalist development now routinely facilitates the production of environmental imaginaries opposing it. This process has unwittingly aided the proliferation of technologies and scientific monitoring infrastructures for monitoring change on the North Coast (see: Chapters Four and Six).  Here and elsewhere, technological-mediation includes the political economy of development: risk calculations, EIAs, sensing infrastructures, and modalities of expertise that inform state-run regulation.  They are put into action by a growing caste of profit-seeking development actors: LNG companies, lawyers, environmental consultancies, technology firms. In contexts of development, sonic technologies – hydrophones, sound maps, playback devices, even distortion pedals – become resources for negotiating the confusion of development, including wayward ecological trends (Helmreich, 2015) and the experience of “time-space compression” (Marx and Engels, 1977; Harvey, 1989). In engaging these formations, geographers and anthropologists can benefit from the recent 212  wealth of work discussing place- and space-making instantiations of media infrastructure and environmental media today (e.g. Smith, 2015; Peters, 2015; Starosielski and Parks, 2016).    The third theme is disciplinary. In doing this work, I hope to have made some inroads into a new kind of disciplinary space, a ‘political ecology of sound’ or an ‘audio geography of development.’ As a medium, sound is often used give expression to agencies and events that are hard to represent in other forms (Dolar, 2007; Labelle, 2011). Embracing these expressions need not lead us in the direction of a political quietism that revels in the unsayable, invisible, or interstitial. By taking seriously less recognized development spaces – a whale listening station, an ensonifying ocean basin, a neighborhood noise complaint, the dream-world of a black metal band – we can better reach those peripheral zones that define development’s socio-ecological aspects. Moreover, we can make these connections without having to abandon some of geography’s core disciplinary concerns: such as the uneven production of space (Harvey, 1989), the role of nature in normalizing conditions of capitalist and colonial exploitation (Braun, 2002), and the formation of more radical environmental imaginaries (Peet and Watts, 2004).   In Chapter Two, I examined the audio-politics of cetology (whale science) at Cetacea Lab, in a stretch of Gitga’at Territory also known as the North Coast, and more proximally, the Great Bear Rainforest. Here, I considered how listening for whales facilitated an environmentalist fantasy of affirmative nature experience, akin to the mountain hiking of John Muir (1901) or the kayaking trips noted by Braun (2002). Shaped by a spectacle-driven conservation economy responding to a recognized crisis of environmentalism, or “nature deficit disorder” (Louv, 2005, 2015), I demonstrated that listening acts are not formed naturally or 213  objectivity. Rather, they are acculturated and administered. At Cetacea Lab, they are tethered to the institutional interests of NGOs, green media firms, and lifestyle organizations. Adorno’s “Culture Industry” thesis anticipated these trends (1947; 1951), and I revised it here to include the curatorial logics shaping environmental conservation. It is only in listening “through the noise” (Demers, 2010), in embracing the noisy context that intercedes upon aesthetically-desired spaces of nature experience, that more critical environmentalisms are made perceptible.    Chapter Three moved inland, and to the inbound trains that have come to dominate Prince Rupert’s waterfront and associated soundscape since 2007.  For many Prince Rupert residents, “promiscuous” noise (Labelle, 2011) became socially and symbolically significant.  It was not just a physical disturbance, but symbolically pointed for many residents to the loss of local control under neoliberal development. I argued that this loss was a consequence of a combination of neoliberal social dynamics and deeper processes of reification (Lukács, 1971).  In Prince Rupert, noise abatement efforts drew residents into attunement with the “ambient order” of neoliberal governance. This process was captured by attending to variegated practices of noise abatement: environmental assessment bureaucracy, isolating social media, and a pervasive “attitude” reaching for past political formations. As much as noise is a harbinger of change (Attali, 1985), and materializes ongoing industrialization of Prince Rupert, it’s animating politics routinely depends on reified notions of past political wills, including a ‘left melancholy’ fixated on the city’s 1970s heyday.      Chapter Four followed noise out to sea, outlining an emerging economy taking shape in marine space. In particular, I considered how a new scientific-cum-environmental problem, 214  ocean noise, was being positioned in relation to shipping prospects and marine conservation on the North Coast. With Gramsci (1995) as my guide, I argued that the consolidation of a new science of underwater sound and ocean noise represents a formidable achievement, a testament to the expansive powers of new “techniques of ascertainment” (Wainwright and Mercer, 2009: 357). At the same time, I insisted on the centrality of Gramsci’s notion of hegemony to these developments. From this vantage, the construction of ocean noise as risk, is not simply about the management of sonically sensitive natures (e.g. whale species), but the commercialization of ocean science.  For this reason, a rapidly commercializing marine science is a site for anti-capitalist struggle. Unlikely though this claim may seem, it is precisely what a Gramsican critique of the contemporary moment reveals: “if the character of political life prevents a radical response to crisis, then it is the political that must change” (Mann and Wainwright, 2015: 1).   These three chapters reveal a central finding of the dissertation, which is the role of the sensory in securing conditions of capitalist domination. In these spaces of audio-politics, threats to the established order become ordered, tuned, and “always already negotiated” in terms of development (Wainwright, 2008). They become enrolled into dominant processes of reification, the culture industry, and the work of powerful actors (e.g. the Prince Rupert Port). Chapter Five stands apart from the other efforts. By listening to an obscure Indigenous black metal band from the North Coast (e.g. Gyibaaw), I also consider an audio-politics that stands outside most frames of development theorizing, indeed one that “may simply be unintelligible to the western and/or imperial ear” (Simpson 2000: 112). As insignificant as Gyibaaw may seem next to actors like the WWF or the Canadian state, the band contains within it the suggestion of a vast and politically momentous “noise uprising” (Denning, 2015).  Indigenous popular music becomes a way of 215  thinking about forces that have long stood astride development but never fully assimilated into its dominant discourses (Byrd, 2011).     Instead of a smooth and timely development process, this dissertation presents an unwieldy array of audiopolitical dynamics – projects, timelines, conflicts, and changes –articulating conditions of life on the North Coast. The fate of the region’s LNG industry is perhaps the best example of how development megaprojects actually materialize across the landscapes of the 21st century: replete with cost-overruns, messy bureaucracy, and wishful thinking (e.g. Flyvberg et al. 2009; Gidwani 2008). As recently as 2013, as many as 13 LNG projects were proposed for the North Coast. Five years later, not one has even confirmed a financial commitment. The majority of these largely Asian-backed projects have now cancelled or deferred (Lee, 2016). The recent withdrawal of the Petronas Project (2017) in the face of unfavorable market conditions – which, much like Enbridge (2015) before it, inspired a wave of Indigenous-led protest and lawsuits – only further confirms the diminished prospects of the sector. Much more successful has been the efforts of The Prince Rupert Port Authority. As I write these words in late August 2017, the port is celebrating 10 years of upgrading to a container terminal, making it the second-largest container handling facility in Canada (Kurjata, 2017).  Like much of the region, the rest of the promised boom in Prince Rupert remains in a holding pattern, waiting for long promised jobs, experiencing little at present.     216  Critique  Research is always both limited and enabled by its frames of analysis.  For me, the conceptual join “audio-politics” was a site of critical and analytic tension throughout this project. It tied me to certain modalities of engagement, albeit also forcing my analysis down unexpected and sometimes fruitful lines. By focusing on sound studies and audio-politics, my results offer a necessarily partial set of insights regarding development on the North Coast. A routine (and unsurprising) frustration I experienced in researching this project was the inability to extend my analysis into the dominant political issues of the North Coast: adaptation to climate change, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Inquiry, or the search for viable and local “community economies” (Gibson-Graham, 2008). These are issues that various people on the North Coast want to discuss.  While critical social scientists are in a unique position to explore these topics with the nuance and reflexivity they require given my frame I was not able to do so.    A more substantive failure given my particular focus is the fact that gender remains undertheorized across the case studies. Chapter One, might have discussed more fulsomely how gender sets structuring conditions of Cetacea Lab’s citizen science, reproducing gender norms in the practice of how we listen to nature. Likewise, noise making has long been view as essential signal of masculine identity (Bailey, 2009); Chapter Four could have done more to theorize the sounding of gender alongside neoliberalism. Chapter Five is very much about the musical performance of masculinity (Weinstein 1990); examining the gender positioning of young Indigenous men within the conjunctural moment of Indigenous resurgence is something that would have strengthened my investigation of articulation (Innis and Anderson, 2015). 217  Musicologists have long engaged this theme (McClary, 1990); but much more sound studies theorizing can be done at the interstices of gender and capitalist development (Rodgers, 2010).   Even within my frame of reference, it is evident that a wealth of additional material could have been covered. This includes consideration of the rich radio histories that have existed along the North Coast, and the situated way Coastal experiences of isolation and community are both “inscribed and overcome by mediating technologies” (Berland, 2008: 99). Neylan’s (2006) fascinating study of Indigenous brass band cultures on the North Coast invites more speculation on musical relations of religion, colonialism, and Indigenous music on the North Coast (the anti-Christian black metal of Gyibaaw is part of this longer story). At one point, I had considered a chapter on the “West Coast Oil Ports Inquiry,” a state-appointed review of oil development concerns in the 1970s – much like the Joint Review Panel that surrounded Enbridge. Comparing these ‘hearings’ as differently situated attempts to generate political consensus would have made for an interesting study on liberalism’s obsession with ‘listening’ and ‘voice’ (e.g. Brown, 1995). Finally, the domain of bio-acoustics, fast becoming a staple of National Parks pol