How to Make One's Self into a Siren: An Acoustemological Mix by Curtis Tamm

Acoustic + Epistemology = Acoustemology 
“As place is sensed, senses are placed; as places make sense, senses make place.”—Steven Feld

Part of Curtis Tamm’s 2017 LACMA Art + Technology Lab project, Tympanic Tether. Tamm conducted audio visual fieldwork in geologically active parts of the world to re-evaluate the relationship between culture and natural catastrophes. Traveling to Santorini, Greece, Yellowstone National Park in the U.S., East Iceland, and multiple locations in Japan, he researched the experiential and technological origins of the siren as a warning device and developed a series of new “siren candidates.” Far from typical sirens, these sounds aim to heal trauma. Instead of a shrill wail, think of resonating temple bells, the visceral bubbling of thermal mud pots, and the distant calls of wildlife across Yellowstone’s vast Central Plateau.

Acoustemology of Santorini 2015

(00:00–3:20) Tympanic Tether performance at Santozeum (excerpt) 

(3:20–6:00) Wandering goats and aeolian winds, Akrotiri 

(6:00–9:50) Saturday Mass, Akrotiri 

(9:50–13:29) Tympanic Tether performance at Santozeum (excerpt) 

(13:29–17:00) Wedding celebration, Akrotiri  

(17:00–19:15) Tourism or Pyroclastic Flow? 


Acoustemology of Yellowstone’s Central Plateau 2019 

(19:15–35:32) Depth is Memory (excerpt) 


Elk of Valles Caldera 2019



Acoustemology of East Iceland 2014-2016

(42:32–47:00) Svínafellsjökull Glacier

(47:00–47:42) Ingimar Oddsson’s Ode to Huldufólk (hidden people) 

(47-42–52:50) East Iceland Fumaroles (excerpt) 


Acoustemology of Japan 2017-2019 

(53:00–58:30) Bonsho of Zojo-ji Temple (excerpt)  

(1:00:00–1:04:07) Spelling for Protection Against Oneself; Kashima Wrestles Namazu (excerpt); original composition for Sho — performed by Taizo Nakata, featuring Nippon Sports and Science University champion Sumo Team, Kendo club of Moriya Highschool in Ibaraki. 

(1:04:07–1:07:05) Itako of Osorezan 

(1:07:05–1:05:58) Yamanote Subway Line 

(1:08:33–1:09:19) War Veteren Buskers at Yasukuni Shrine 

(1:09:19—1:15:13) Shinjuku Forever 

(1:15:13—1:21:50)  Elders of Pure Land; feat. Yoshimizu-kō Eishō Taikai ceremony at Chion-in.

(1:21:50—1:28:15) How to Make One’s Self into a Siren — original composition for Japanese onomatopoeia ‘tremble’, performed by Dolce choir.

(1:28:15—1:37:00) Bonsho of Hōnen-in Temple, Kyoto (excerpt) 

This mix is a collection of field recordings artist Curtis Tamm made during the research component of his project Tympanic Tether. The work of Curtis Tamm deploys a type of sideways and peripheral glimpsing within the context of experimental research, the outcomes of which are committed to developing and sharing techniques for capturing and releasing those plasma like entities and instances which seem to dissolve and overwhelm when approached or looked at directly.