I Can Hear You Watching Me

As citation:obsolete was preparing to start work on Music for Drones, I noticed that police helicopters circled our neighborhood a LOT. So, I started recording the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) choppers as they circled (and sometimes hovered) my neighborhood, often flying directly over my back yard. My criteria were that I would drop everything and record every police chopper I could while I was (a) home and (b) awake.


This project opens up questions about:

  1. The role of sound in surveillance and counter-veillance.
    1. The sound of surveillance itself as an aesthetic object/experience (or, who is listening to these recordings, and why?).
    2. Facebook uses the mic in my phone to listen in on what’s going on around me; I’m using this same mic to make a public record of police activity in my mainly-minority neighborhood.
  2. The use of social media in/for counter-veillance, especially because it is also a site of corporate and state surveillance.
  3. The relationships between 1 and 2 (or between sound and social media in the context of contemporary surveillance/policing regimes).
  4. Race and counterveillance (or, I’m a white homeowning lady; how does this affect my access to the nominal right we have to record the police?)

I started in spring 2014, and continued through the summer. This is an ongoing project. But, as I now have about 11 recordings, I thought I would gather them in a Storify (listen to all the recordings by following the link).