My question comes from another angle. Has art and its expression ever been used to deliberately cause pain?
A few evenings ago I was at an outdoor concert of reggae and other Carribean music. To emphasize the beat, the rhythm, the promoters and/or the musicians turned up not only the volume but also the bass. I found it necessary to leave.
I used to laugh at my wife when she refused to stay at a concert with a pronounced and heavy bass because it hurt her. Not her ears so much as her bones, she said. Myself, I would joy in the vibrations of my own body to the rhythm of the pounding beat. Pain, no; discomfort, maybe but the excitement was worth it.That night, the bass vibrated my bones: ribs, breastbone, collarbones. What's more, it hurt. After several minutes the pain throbbed as constant as a toothache and I had to leave.
It made me wonder. Has sound as art ever been used to destroy its 'consumer'? Has any other art form? I know good writing has been used as fuel for political movements, but has a combattant ever been killed by a poem? A barrage of poems?Art is an antidote to war, anger and negative behaviors but can it ever stop it without the bodies of the artists?
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Universal Soldier is as strong as ever. Over against him is the Universal Artist. But, may sounds and looks and words never kill. It's more than enough that they hurt.