Santorini: Call for Proposals Announced

Aural Lighthouses – A Beacon from Radio Free Santorini

Event dates: May 16-23 2015

Call for Proposals – Catastrophe Roll Call
Submission deadline: October 31 2014
Number of participants:
A) Papers: 20
B) Practice: 15

Whether unfolding in real time or revived in post-production, aftershocks of natural phenomena speed up recordings to make them audible and can be employed in performance to represent catastrophe or pending catastrophe.  Environmental sound artists work with atmospheric scientists to evoke emotional, affective and visceral responses beyond data apparent in graphs and images. They help us understand climate change, weather and temporal movement represented on the aural landscape scale. Andrea Polli recorded sounds of glaciers and icebergs disintegrating. Peter Cusack sought recordings from disaster sites like the Chernobyl exclusion zone in the Ukraine or the rivers of Eastern Turkey with their extensive, local climate altering dams. Jo Burzynska resonified a cathedral and other urban iconic buildings destroyed in a major earthquake. Micah Frank created a sound sculpture using the magnitude, elevation, time of day, and geographical coordinates of the earthquakes that occur across the globe in real time, while Klaus Filip created live mixes using raw seismological data from multiple seismic stations.

Catastrophes are often identified with impetuous, dense and massive sounds. The sounds aggregating around 'natural disasters' are attributed animalistic qualifiers, such as 'growling tornado,' 'roaring avalanche,' 'shrieking cyclone,' 'groaning earth.' In contradistinction with these popular versions of catastrophic imagination, Bernie Krause coined the term 'biophony' to help ecologists, biologists, acoustic scientists, and others understand the long-term impact of disasters, particularly silent ones. Biophony embraces the collective biological, wild, nonhuman sound that emanates from each given environment and gets critically silenced by man-made sounds. 

Using Santorini's caldera as a 'natural amphitheater' for live or technically mediated auditory (re)presentations, the "Aural Lighthouses" symposium in Santorini, as a part of the 'PSi 2015: FLUID STATES - Performances of UnKnowing' festival, will aim to examine the role of human aural performance in making certain disaster sounds come to seem natural and fade into a perceived inaudibility.  The history of Santorini in relation to its active volcano and its inhabitants’ recent memory of the terrific earthquake of 1953 have created a particular cultural and environmental relationship between each body and its potentially violent ambient.

We invite proposals for conference-type papers presented in a chosen mode of audio transmission. 
• What is the form and shape that spectrography, granular, aggregate and subtractive synthesis, or other sonification tools used in the arts and sciences give to disasters?  
• What are the limits sonifying the data of natural phenomena? 
• What is the role of an aural culture in relation to the impending specter of the global crisis? 
• Are dichotomies between pristine sounds and sounds corrupted by civilization sustainable – between biophony, geophony and anthropophony – if they all refer to mutual autopoietic environments? 
• What is the impact of the anthropogenic speeding up and densifying of certain sound environments on the silencing of others?
• Can we think of environmental soundscapes as belonging not only to the archive but also to the repertoire? 

We also invite proposals for more vernacular or practice-based performative interventions likewise presented in a chosen mode of audio transmission. 
• What relationship, both as a species and as individuals, do we develop to pre- and post-disaster soundscapes? 
• If sound is usually perceived as something disembodied, what about the materiality of the sound of catastrophe is profoundly disorienting? 
• In what ways can – or should not – the prospect of unpredictable catastrophes serve as a catalyst for the recognition of place, experience and identity? 
• Can a maker of anthropogenic noise be a naturalist as well? Can she be a counter-conservationist? 
• How minimal can we be in 'minimally processing environmental sound recordings?' 
• What is the atmosphere afforded by and the beauty, if not pleasure, to be found in 'danger' and 'panic?' 

Please submit to:

The call for Local and Visiting Correspondents is also now available here.

Tags: Audiences Spectators Spectatorship in Performance  Media Technology and Performance  Performance Studies in Europe  Performance Studies in Languages Other Than English  

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