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1. Saint Irene is an island whose history atrophies in layers.

Each layer presents a pinnacle of
cultural splendor: its energy and potential climaxes alongside the subterranean force that fuels
its destruction. Socio-economic climates of the past can be measured in success against the
scale of the volcanic eruption which cemented their fate, all of them etched in acidic clouds of
fine particulate pumice-laden ash. Seven iterations of Akroteri, the island's most ancient city are
stacked, each balanced atop the ruins of the last. It is as though cultural and earthly forces were
dancing together, supporting each other's acceleration towards an inevitable excess in capacity —
a breech in boundaries, a moment of overspill.
2. The island's children are known for their mood swings and purportedly fiery temperament.
"Volcano babies", as they are known, resonate with the turbulence of something only they can
3. Atmospheric scientists monitor Santorini's volcano, or more accurately the peak in the island's
hollow centre, as the island is itself a volcano. It is partly submerged whilst other parts of the
sub-aqueous crater reach out above the surface, in a form that resembles the shape of an ear. The
scientists measure gases, vibrations and changes in PH level at various sites within the inner
labyrinth. A distributed mass of numerical data flows like cochleal fluid through their harddrives, and bounces off parabolic satellites into the labs of earth-science specialists who interpret
the readings through a form of distortion known as statistical analysis. Analogous to the hermit
crab's growth and its cyclical progression through a series of shells, minute fluctuations in data
from Nea Kameni (the central, most active peak) can be read as a pattern of relative stability,
confirmed by a deep geological history of ear drum ruptures that repeat in a 20,000 year cycle.
These eruptions cleanse the island of its outer epidermis, like the loss of a shell, all established
culture and biological life is exfoliated off with a thick rub of pumice.
4. But what is being measured, the booming energy of a land-mass, or the mass-psychology of
economic boom? What does a seismograph denote aside from a desire for stability proposed on
shaky foundations? Is this a record of terrestrial physics or an imprint of intention, and are we
happy to agree that the volcano has none? Is it not likely that a measure of human activity, the
footfall of tourists and the gaseous rumbles of an abstract economy might prove themselves to be
a more productive reading of the island's current temperament, its agitated status, its chances of
5. …It has not yet been 20,000 years. The volcano is unlikely to erupt, or so the story goes.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists balance their selfie-sticks on this presumption as they clink
euros into a bucket, paying their dues to trudge up the side of Nea Kameni's limpet-like peak.
"DO NOT MOVE REMOVE OR BREAK OFF ROCKS" instructs a sign at the bottom of the steep
rocky path, as if each piece of pumice must be cemented in place and labeled as the fossil of a
recent extinction. Half way through the obligatory tour a slim waft of sulphur-colored gas reveals
itself, leaking from one side of a crater shaped pit. The plume is disguised by the guides as a residual trace, a relic of retreating activity or a feeble last breath, staged against the island's future
of dormancy. The tourists return in boatloads to Thira, the vibrant city where noisy souvenir
shops cram into labyrinthine streets, selling lumps of volcanic pumice for one Euro a piece (oneEuro-fifty on the days that a cruise ship pulls in to dock). It is as through the island's precarious
economy leans entirely – creaking slightly under its own weight – on the silencing of this volcano.
6. “Now they have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence" wrote Kafka
in reference to the sirens, chimeric bird-like women that are known for their luring of merchantsailors toward gruesome demise through their hauntingly beautiful song. Could the same be
true for our volcano – an animate mound of catastrophic potential that cannot be heard through
our present mode of listening? Is Saint Irene sleeping peacefully, undisturbed by the mega-horns
of cruise ships and clustered breeze-block developments that penetrate her skin? Or perhaps we
have wax in our caldera-shaped ears, unable to hear the island's own sirens against the white

noise of contemporary experience. Perhaps Saint Irene is calling, rumbling to us in an extrascientific tongue. Perhaps the island itself is proposing conversation between a culture and a
landmass, in a final attempt to negate the silence of anthropocentric catastrophe…
7. The siren appears to us as the omniscient sonic decoy of imminent danger, but it's shape
and sound are beginning to seem strange. Like an under developed stand-in, hiding in costume, the sound of a frightened animal attempting to assert dominance out of a lack of courage… Tympanic Tether is an opportunity to make a socially driven sound composition but from
the perspective of a 'people to come'. A sonic hologram of a human culture that responds to
confounding natural events with spontaneous group experiences of play through sound in
public spaces.
8. What if we privilege catastrophe, revel in the accident and consider human demise as a part
of a cleansing cycle?
9. Get comfortable.
10. Relax.
11. Remove the wax from your ears.
12. We are presently engaged in a public hearing to instantiate and reinvigorate the sensitivities of our attention and alertness. To reconsider the siren and that which it connotes: a library
of candidates for a future aural warning system.
13. Santorini currently has no formal warning signal or evacuation procedure. Tympanic Tether
proposes a new sound track for distressing situations: To hear the degradation of the tri-tone
siren, shifting from the sound of our imminent death towards a biosophy of organic cycles.
14.This writing arrives in the form of an aggregate, compressed out of momentary crystals of
encounter, synthesized over time and peppered with personal hunches that arrive from our
own experience of inhabiting Saint Irene.
15. This sound experience shares a similar method of chimeric assemblage, working through
time and refusing to direct or protagonise on behalf of one's own self-identity. Rather, creating
space for you the listener to be the choreographer of a cosmic orrery, existing afterward in time
as a memory of an experience with a group of people in a room full of speakers, sounding out
the shape of things to come.





Inner Labyrinth


HS & CT / 22.5.15