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Radiophonics of the Vietnam War: A Collection

Type of publication Not peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (non peer-reviewed)
Author Müller Jan Philip,
Project Radiophonic Cultures - Sonic environments and archives in hybrid media systems
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Original article (non peer-reviewed)

Journal continent
Volume (Issue) 5(3)
Page(s) 7
Title of proceedings continent

Open Access


In a short text titled "Radical Radio" Murray R. Schafer has written about the idea of a "Wilderness Radio" that would feed back the sounds of nature back into human urban environments. Actually, something very similar has been done by the US-Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, just around the same time that Schafer had started to developed his concepts of "soundscape" and "acoustic ecology". To stop the Viet Cong from infiltrating South Vietnam the US military conceived of an "electronic wall"controlling the Vietnamese and Laotian jungle in an operation called "Igloo White". Among other electronic sensors the sound sensors called "acoubuoys" were supposed to detect enemy movements and transmit their sounds via radio to a computerized intelligence center in Thailand. What historically connects "Wilderness Radio" to its weird twin "Operation Igloo White" may be called a 'becoming-environmental' of sound. By drawing together different stories about acoustic technologies and radiophonics in the Vietnam War this collection aims to sketch out different aspects of this shift in sonic topologies.