The Treasury

Tuned City (Ancient Messene, Greece)
June 1 - 3, 2018

The Treasury is a monophonic sound installation installed in the ruins of Ancient Messene as part of Tuned City 2018. Black Seas (Messene) was an accompanying collaborative performance with ILIOS and Nikos Veliotis atop Mount Ithome, overlooking the ruins.

The Treasury
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 were used to generate feedback based on the volume, frequency, and acoustics of this space. Recording this process incorporated 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 solitary confinement.

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.

Black Seas (Messene)
Steve Bates: field recordings, computer, microphones
ILIOS: oscillators, live sound mix
Nikos Veliotis: cello, limax

Using the resonant frequencies of The Treasury as the foundation for this performance combined with field recordings of the Old Voiulkano Monastery, the trio of Nikos Veliotis (cello, limax), ILIOS (sine wave oscillators, radio transmitters) and Steve Bates (computer, field recordings, electronics) will perform an extended tonal survey of the site.