Transmission Notes #1

Transmissions Team
transmissions-norway-greece
3 min readOct 14, 2021

--

Syros / Gyaros, 14–21 June 2021

Gyaros©actevide

Otherness is an island
Obscured in plain sight

For visitors of Syros, Gyaros is the unnamed, rocky island formation that appears shortly before the ferry reaches the port of Syros. Despite being the closest visible island from the most visited, scenic parts of Northern Syros (Apano Meria), its presence is ghostly; a darkened non-place, orbiting the gloriously luminous Syros landscape. For Syros, the complex layers of Gyaros’ histories resound primarily through their silencing.

Gyaros©actevide

The first part of this residency exchange became an attempt to delve deeper into these silences, investigating the relationship between Syros and Gyaros through interviews with older generation inhabitants of Ano Syros, field recordings in Syros and Gyaros, and sensory auto-ethnographies in both islands. With the co-operation of the Syros branch of WWF, the team had the opportunity to make a guided exploration across the five main beaches of Gyaros, including the remains of the prison and hospital buildings and exile camp settlements.

Gyaros©actevide

The field trip to Gyaros provided a powerful focus for the entire residency. Initial discussions focused on the ways in which Gyaros’ history of forced exile and imprisonment was muted in the Syros collective imaginary or transformed through layers of nostalgia for the period preceding the appropriation of the premises by the state. Fieldwork also focused on the gigantic traces of human intervention on the island, their eerie counterpoint with Gyaros wildlife, and their sensory impact on notions of collective memory and monumentality. Equally strong was the sense of embodied hardship and decay associated with the Gyaros landscape, embedded almost in every material surface, and audible even as we walked across the island. As our WWF representative Vasiliki Denaxa remarked, one of the most pervasive sounds in Gyaros is the sound of brick sand flowing on the ground, as the prison walls slowly and gradually collapse, with no prospect of restoration

acte vide
Syros-Thessaloniki-Athens, July 2021

Gyaros©actevide

The residency is co-organized by Syros Sound Meetings (Greece) & North Norwegian Arts Centre (Norway) and is part of the Transmissions project, supported by the EEA Grants program and the Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2014–2021. Transmissions is coordinated by ONASSIS STEGI (Greece) in partnership with Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival (Norway).

See also:

--

--