Tom Western, Edinburgh College of Art’s new Teaching Fellow in Popular Music, has published a sound essay titled ‘ΤΣΣΣΣ ΤΣΣΣ ΤΣΣ ΣΣΣ (Summer in Athens)’.
Tom returned to ECA in September 2017, having previously completed his PhD here in 2015.
The sound essay uses location recordings to explore themes of displacement, encounter and public space in the city. Sound produces social relations, and is at once a site of solidarity and contestation. Recordings are used in this piece to tell different stories of displacement, and to offer different modes of representation.
The piece, published as part of a series created by researchers at UCL, is an outcome of eight months’ fieldwork in Athens earlier in 2017. It was recorded in collaboration with artists and musicians from Greece, Syria and Afghanistan, all currently living in the city: Said Azim Karimi, Muhammad Sukarno Kurdi, Georgios Sourmelis, and Sofia Zafeiriou.
Tom said: “We were interested in the way Athens sounds different depending on where you come from, so we talked about meaningful sounds and places, then made recordings together in various parts of the city. Sound is a way of experiencing the city – a contact zone between communities – and it chimes into debates over identity, belonging and citizenship. With this piece, we sought to contribute to conversations on displacement and integration, while at the same time leaving the meaning of these sounds open to the interpretation of listeners”.
At ECA Tom plans to continue this research into a larger study of sound and citizenship in Athens. He also teaches courses on Intercultural Musical Performance, Music Festivals, and Making Sense of Popular Music.