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Aural Lighthouses

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. 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.' But many of the sounds made by volcanoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and other turbulent phenomena in the physical world are below the frequency limit of human hearing. That's why, making use of contemporary technological reproduction, certain air forces have recently resorted to 'sonic booms' – high-volume, deep-frequency sound effects of air pressure resembling a massive explosion that produce fear and anxiety attacks in their listeners.

Continuing to use Santorini's caldera as a 'natural amphitheater' for live or technically mediated auditory (re)presentations, the Santozeum museum will host the "Aural Lighthouses" symposium from May 16 to 23, 2015 as a part of the 'PSi 2015: FLUID STATES – Performances of UnKnowing' festival. We will examine the role of human aural performance in making disaster sounds seem natural and fade into a perceived inaudibility.