I am thrilled to announce the newly established Study Group Music and Violence of the International Musicological Association (IMS), which I have the pleasure of chairing. The group is based on a network created through the conference Soundscapes of Trauma: Music, Violence, Therapy (2019). Its scope is broad and it includes:
(1) current and historical uses of music as a means of violence and resistance to violence during war and conflict; (2) musical representations of violence; (3) music as symbolic violence, that is, non-physical violence exercised between social groups in the form of Othering, shaming, negative recognition, and hegemony of (musical) values; (4) the entanglement of music and musicking with environmental violence; (5) and the ways in which music has been embedded in systemic, racial, and gender violence in authoritarian as well as democratic regimes.
I am happy to announce the publication of my article “On Music, Torture and Detention: Reflections on Issues of Research and Discipline” in the special issue of the journal “Transposition” on Sound, Music and Violence along with texts of dear colleagues and friends. The long-standing association of music and violence has been an overlooked topic in music research supporting a critical blindness about its transformation into an ideal weapon of terror. The wide range of topics explored and the interdisciplinary approach of this issue edited by Luis Velasco-Pufleau, attest to how far we have come in music research with regard to this phenomenon and disciplinary trauma. You can access the article here: https://journals.openedition.org/transposition/5289
I recently took part in a BBC Radio 3 programme, aired on 15 September, exploring negative experiences of music. I shared my research on music and torture in general and cold-war Greece in particular. You can access the programme on BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0008gly
With Gareth Malone, Professor Sophie Scott, James Tysome (Emmeline Centre for hearing implants, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge), Frances Harris, Cherry, Mike Moreton, Sofie, Nav Chana, Margaret Farquharson, Christine Bell, Flora, Sheldon Gilbert, John Lwanda, Anna Papaeti and George Szirtes.
A Tandem Production for BBC Radio 3 Presenter: Faith Waddell Producers: Faith Waddell & Sarah Devonald Assistant producer: Sofie Vilcins Sound designer: Riccardo Marcucci
On 12 July 2019 Nektarios Pappas and I created the sound installation “New Parthenon” (Νέος Παρθενώνας) for the exhibition “Iasis” [Cure] organized by TILT platform. The title draws on a phrase attributed to Panagiotis Kanellopoulos concerning the detention camps established at the barren island of Makronissos in the context of the civil war in Greece (1946-1949). Our work deals with the traumatic soundscapes of the Markonissos camps during these bleak years as well as the post civil-war period; the camps finally closed down in 1957. Drawing on archival research and testimonies I collected in the context of the MUSDEWAR project, the installation explores: the official discourse of indoctrination according to which Makronissos was a national sanatorium aimed at curing Greek communists from the germ of communism; the torturous and multifaceted use of music and sound to which the detainees were exposed. The exhibition took place from 12 July to 4 August at the town of Loutraki, Greece. For a short clip, check here: https://vimeo.com/350963869
In the context of my Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (acronym MUSDEWAR), 24 guitars were donated by the Belgian humanitarian organization “Music Fund” for music projects with refugees in camps, shelters and self-managed spaces in Greece. Two years ago I asked Lukas Pairon, founder and managing director of “Music Fund”, to donate music instruments for refugee projects in Greece. Even though Greece is not at war, the effects of conflict are experienced by the thousands of refugees currently stranded here, some of them in situations of detention or semi detention. He most generously offered to send guitars as long as I could secure transport but also music projects in which they could be used. After two years of looking for a way to get the guitars here for free, the solution was given by the Belgian dance company “Rosas” which performs at the Athens Festival this evening. They loaded the guitars on their truck transporting their production’s sets. Eighteen guitars will be used by the Athens-based group “Musikarama” (Karama, dignity in Arabic), run by volunteers teaching music at refugee camps and their own space; they will also be used in collaboration with the Syrian Greek Youth Forum. Six guitars will be used by the group SAM SAM: Socio-Emotional Awareness Management – Sharing Arts & Music with refugee children. Based at the island of Chios, SAM SAM will work with unaccompanied minor refugees currently staying in a shelter. Many thanks go to the wonderful Lukas Pairon and MUSIC FUND; the dance company “Rosas”; Nicole Mouzaki, Head of Production of the Athens Festival; Kareem Kabbani, Wael Habbal and their friends from the The Syrian & Greek Youth Forum / SGYF; “Musikarama“; ethnomusicologist Tom Western; music therapist Mitsi Akoyunoglou; and composer Alexis Porfiriadis for helping me get the guitars to their new homes.
Organized in the context of my Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (acronym MUSDEWAR), the exhibition was in dialogue with the international conference Soundscapes of Trauma: Music, Violence, Therapy that took place in Athens from 23 to 25 May 2019. It featured new works by five artists – students of the Athens School of Fine Arts – exploring the conference’s themes. On Thursday 23 May, as the first day of the conference came to an end, there was a performance by Nektarios Pappas at his Pandemonium at Athens Conservatoire.
Athens Conservatoire > Kletia Kokalari, Music for a very very very small room (2019) > Nektarios Pappas, Pandemonium (2019) > Argiris Rallias, Sound-Map (2019) > Manos Saklas, Vertigo Devices (2019)
National Hellenic Research Foundation > Elena Barmpa, Ear Myth (2019)
Below you can access the exhibition’s fold-up publication, which includes the exhibition map, artists’ biographies and description of works.
Participants in order of appearance: Elizabeth Tolbert, Johns Hopkins University, Chair Alison Frater, National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (UK), Keynote Alexander Mclean, Founder of the African Prisons Project, Keynote Aine Mangaong, University of Oslo, Respondent Anna Papaeti, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Respondent