Žygimantas Augustinas. Exhibition From Calm to Panic.
The changes of the last few years are trying to accustom people’s psyches to big fluctuations. Like an ocean, people’s moods, which ripple and resonate, create disruptive phenomena or mobilize society to fight back and develop resilience. Sirens and beacons, devices designed to signal danger, are becoming relevant again in this context.
Sirens are also ancient Greek mythological creatures, half-woman and half-bird, which, according to Homer, lure sailors. The howler monkeys are a species of monkey (Alouatta) that is capable of a very loud howl, the male’s howl being used mainly to attract females or to ward off competitors.
The project aims to draw attention to alarm devices, ancient Greek mythical creatures, and the exploration of the properties of sound. For example, howler monkeys are able to make such loud noises because of the extremely large polyhedral bone that acts as a resonator. The fascinating devices developed by engineers, the creatures that can seduce, and the fetishization of sound timbre and its reproduction devices come together in the project. The aim is to highlight the importance of being prepared for danger, together with the need for a reassuring refuge.
In the exhibition, you will see the modern electronic Sonnenburg siren, which would alert you to an air raid in time of war, but which will play the lyre as if it were seducing Odysseus. You will also find smaller sirens that have a gentle look and are capable of making a very nasty sound, as well as an ancient Greek siren with blackened hands. There will be an occasional howl, and paintings, drawings, and cozily lit tube amplifiers will remind you of a perhaps peaceful past. A (non-lethal) sonic weapon turned on to disperse illegal gatherings will give you a chance to explore the enigmatic power of vibrations. The exhibition and its exhibits will be calm but may cause panic if the imagination or a switch is turned on.