Contemporary works by Pugliese, Sailstorfer, Smoleński, Gale, and Basanta illustrate how various modes of sonic extremity in combination with formal experimentation with sound technologies have significant impacts on their listeners. Through their artworks, these artists compel their audiences to be wary of their sonic surroundings, attuning them to the ways that sound can be deployed strategically both inside and outside the exhibition space. By employing the at once liberating and oppressive dimensions of noise and the calming and repressive qualities of silence, these artists have harnessed the compositional potential of these polarities, emphasizing the act of listening critically and the criticality of listening.