vassilios kokkas, composer
Signal to Noise Rituals
  Communication Blackbox

In 2001, I received the challenging  invitation to work with sound and create an installation inside a magic space, the huge engine compartments of the legendary battleship Averoff, an important and popular monument of modern greek history, a ship that was initially launched in 1910.

Averoff is indeed the Flying Dutchman of the Greek 20th century naval history. The heroic stories and are endless. When the ship battled through the Balkan Wars, and landed the docks Istanbul amidst the climax of the “big idea”, the “megali idea”, to reconquer Constantinople and rebuild the Byzantine Empire, romantic spirits and souls went in a frenzy. The ship has been admired and depicted by painters and poets, kings and thieves, the good and the bad, friends and enemies alike.

I looked into taking advantage of the jittery collective perception of time and space, which the stories of this ship relate to. As a symbol for time, I took a heartbeat and the sound of an old mechanic clock. As a sound for the dimension of space, I took some recordings of sea waves as they were audible in some mysterious hidden points inside the engine compartment.

As there are two engine compartments, I gave one the sound of the heartbeat, and the other the sound of the old clock. These sounds were used as a time net, on which various sounds, recorded in the spaces, were intercomposed after a complex plan that was inspired by two of my favorite artists, Calder and his perpetuum mobile, and the monster musical works of Jean Tinguelly. Indeterminacy was guaranteed, as the recorded sounds of the 6 channel installation played from 3 mp3-CD players in loops with durations resulting in prime number ratios, so that it was practically impossible to catch a repetition of the recorded material. Other sounds were created by the distant waves hitting the hull from outside, and the visitors entering the installation, as every step on the metal stairs and floor panels had its own unique and mysterious sounding character. I used 6 hidden speakers of different sizes, specifications and character, in order to put together a small acousmonium to serve as the musical instrument inside the musical instrument, that was inside the hull which is also a musical instrument.
The work was comissioned by the group project
"Το Πλήρωμα Ενός Άλλου Χρόνου" "A Crew of Another Time" and was made possible through a grant by the Michelis Foundation, Athens. A catalog and a plan were printed for this exhibition.

(Electroacoustic Sound Installation by Vassilios Kokkas @ Battleship Museum Averoff, Marina Trocadero, Faleron Athens, 2001. Made possible through a grant by Michelis Foundation, Athens.)