Aural Auras and Haunting Echoes: Places with complex biographies
The aim of the thesis is to explore the distinct identities of places with complex biographies. In particular, it investigates the processes through which sound can enact dialogues between places and people, thus exposing these identities. Place, and more specifically the history of place, is understood as a field that is involved in a process of continuous negotiation and performance. Throughout the thesis, it is contended that the identities of "charged places" can be experienced similarly to
... how we experience ambience or background noise. Through the ostensible silence that characterises the places under study – a silence not necessarily acoustic, but rather one that relates to the absence of what was or what should have been there – a noisy narrative may develop in our mental realm. Imagination and daydream is the ultimate condition for creating what Gaston Bachelard (1958) terms the "poetic image", which will enable us to "listen" to the place through its histories and to delve into its "aural aura". The specific topic of investigation is how a sound artist, following a place-specific trajectory, may foster a meaningful conversation between the audience and the place, thus exposing the place's biographical essences, and furthermore how they may "orchestrate" an aural aura in order to establish this communication. The four works presented in the portfolio constitute a practical approach through which a response is given to the above inquiries. Each of the four works addresses fields that involve socio-political, philosophical, cultural and aesthetic concerns relevant to the island of Cyprus, as well as more practical artistic matters, such as interactivity, collaboration and ephemerality. The thesis concludes that place-specific sound art with a guerrilla-art style, can be an effective way of expressing and communicating nuances and concepts that relate to the biography of places.