The Treasury

The Treasury
Tuned City Festival
Ancient Messene, Greece

As part of Tuned City, a companion performance took place atop Mount Ithomi with the duo of ILIOS and Nikos Veliotis of MMMD.

The Treasury is part of the larger Black Seas project.

Field recordings of tree leaves rustling in the wind collected from around Messene are formed into a noise composition. Using this material as sound source and playing it back in the burial chamber (also known as the Treasury), condenser microphones and speakers will be used to generate feedback based on the volume, frequency, and acoustics of this space. Recording this process incorporates the feedback into the composition.

The Treasury is believed to be the site of Philopoemen’s (253 BC – 183 BC) incarceration and execution. While there is no record of Philopoemen experiencing hallucination; confinement, isolation, trauma, and terror have been linked to hallucinatory states. So here it is posed more as a possible condition of his solitary experience in this cell.

The rich Greek legacy of listening for prophecy can be imagined as another kind of hallucinatory listening while the modern carceral state is one that utilises isolation in design with acoustics, lighting and various materialities to create a minimised and maximised sense space that often causes hallucination. How a society treats its incarcerated and those who hallucinate reveals structural, political and ethical manifestations of its ideology.

Photo: Stelios Pantazopoulos

Photo: Stelios Pantazopoulos


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.