Productive Parasites: Thinking of Noise as Affect

Marie Thompson


Drawing from Michel Serres’ notion of the parasite, this article provides a nuanced explanation for noise that distinguishes itself from prevailing negative narratives, which often seek to define noise as unwanted, undesirable or damaging sound. Such narratives have left noise vulnerable to moralising polemics, which construct silence and noise as a dichotomy between the past and present, natural and cultural, relaxing and disturbing, and, fundamentally, good and bad. This article facilitates a reconsideration of noise’s ethical connotations by proposing the notion of noise as affect.


Affect, Michel Serres, parasite, sound, music

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