Tympanic Tether, 2015          
siren | response-ability | geo-logic  

While searching for mythological and contemporary identities of the ‘siren’ on Santorini, the island claimed by Plato as the one time Atlantis, I collaborated with volcanologists, firefighters, policemen, bird-breeders, ambulance-drivers, goat-farmers and airport personnel on a new aural-warning siren for that volcanic island, based in field-recordings rather than tritones. Over the course of a month-long residency with the Santozeum, I amassed an audio-library of 'siren-candidates' resulting in an hour-long live spatialized sound composition with accompanying text, performed as part of Aural Lighthouses; an international symposium exploring sound and natural catastrophe.

Thanks to:
Institute for the Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano
Ramona Stout and Alyssa Moxley
Peter and Ileana Nomikos
Hermione Spriggs
Agnieszka Gratza
Lubi Matic


It wasn’t until the 1800s that mechanization tuned the once-musical siren into a warning signal. And it was precisely this social evolution that amputated the possibility for a siren to be ‘played’, using it instead as a signaling device. The ramifications of this shift appear as an involution of siren culture; a calcification of the noises the device is capable, or willing to produce. The sonic ‘syntax’ of our cities deflated, events like Fluid States in Santorini begin to invert our declining traditions of aural culture, creating the opportunity to make a socially driven sound compositions but from the perspective of a “people-to-come”. A kind of sonic hologram of a human culture that responds to confounding natural events with spontaneous group experiences of play, through sound in public spaces.


“One of the first devices to give man an extended voice was the horn. The first horns were aggressive, hideous sounding instruments, used to frighten off demons and other animals…”
— R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape.

The Tympanic Tether research and performance residency was supported by: 
Santozeum, Santorini’s local Hospital, Police and Fire Department, the Santorini Airport and Military Base
The Institute for the Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano, PS1 Fluid States; Performances of Unknowing,
& Hermione Spriggs (who took these beautiful medium format photographs). 

Featured Audience / Symposium Participants:
Ramona Stout
Alyssa Moxley
Andrea Polli
Ileana & Peter Nomikos
Ljubisa Matic
Gabriella Daris
David Terry
Nick Rynearson
Agnieszka Gratza
Julian Hand

“All of this suggests a politics of the performative gesture, alloying itself with practices of improvisation and participative art in the wild (beyond the territory of the gallery).”
— Brian Massumi, What Animals Teach Us About Politics