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 entitled Tympanic Tether, with accompanying text (made in collaboration with Hermione Spriggs), performed as part of Aural Lighthouses; an international symposium exploring sound and natural catastrophe, organized by PS1: Fluids States.

“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.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that mechanization tuned the once-musical siren into a warning signal. One of the implications of the siren's now mechanized homogenization, is that the sonic culture surrounding public truma is also placed into a holding-pattern. Psychological assocations to disaster congeal and freeze along a rift of repetition and resounding. 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 at the scale of entire societies; rendering perspectives of a “people-to-come”. Tympanic Tether speculates rich ontological shifts are possible when cities allow themselves to be 'played', and that when sirens in particular re-member their foundation as music, a kind of sonic hologram of a human culture articulates through space; a response to confounding natural events with spontaneous group experiences of play.

“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

Tympanic Tether (Santorini) 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

2015