Noise plays a specific role in the politics of protest. The use of motorcycles to display affiliations, to protest status quo, and to challenge dominant ideologies is powerful, purposeful, and politically messy. In this essay, I trace the use of motorcycles in various modes of protest; I focus on how motorcycles disrupt the social, revealing the indelible charge of sensorial codes of meaning of producing noise—the productive process of drowning out voices, the turning up the volume of dissident perspectives such as how the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes established a sonic audibility in the 1970s to the recent off-duty motorcycle policemen who through using the loudness of their motorcycles protested Death penalty opponents, to the Patriot Guard Riders who mask the bullhorns of the Westboro Baptist Church protests.
Sheila Malone’s work is both digital art piece and critical essay, which explores the queerness and the vibrating machine in light of both recent scholarship on objects and materiality and the author’s own work as a performance artist. Malone’s art cuts across and questions the divides between highbrow and lowbrow, permanence and ephemerality, the G-rated and the X-rated. The digital installation and accompanying essay understand the space of inbetweenness as a potential site for queer interventions into existing material orders.