Highlights from Athens: “Symphony of Sirens”

  • In a series of articles we present our findings and impressions of the exhibition Documenta14 in Athens. Today we discuss megalomanic sound art by Arseny Avraamov

    This guy was a crazy guy. He used to be a bolshevik revolutionist, got captured, escaped to Norway and later toured as a circus artist/musical clown riding a horse.

    He also invented a way to transfer light and images into sound. I really liked how he made sounds using ancient greek patterns, transporting 2000+ year old stuff into live music. He was kind of an octopus, I think, very brainy, and they couldn’t capture or pin him down, he just kept doing something different.

    The work Symphony of sirens, was a giant composition performed by an orchestra of workers, factories, boats, trains and armies. It’s Big scale, Big stuff. I thought the grandness, or the mad, megalomaniac attitude of his work was fascinating. I would only complain about the look of the installation which wasn’t super sexy, but his picture looks very Russian.

    There’s also an echo of Russian revolutions here. This big collective of workers coming together, using the very means of production to form an orchestra and make a montage of factory sounds. I think that was very much of his time.

    You also have the cannons, guns sirens, soldiers.

    Yes, and it felt almost scary to stand in the middle of this, the sound of the machinery of war.