Symphony of Sirens: Sound Art and Performance

Symphony of Sirens: A performative experiment in sound

In 1922, avant-garde composer and music theorist, Arseny Avraamov debuted his masterpiece, Гудковая симфония, “Symphony of Factory Sirens,” better known as the “Symphony of Sirens.” He orchestrated this half an hour-long sound experiment in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan for the fifth anniversary of the October Revolution. This piece was performed across a great expanse of the city by way of multiple conductors, simultaneously directing various sirens, automobile horns, cannons, guns, airplanes and massive bands and choirs. The conductors were elevated on tall podiums with pistols and torches to direct, in different locations across the city.

The link here is a reproduction of what this piece would have sounded like.

Happy Birthday to Art Clokey!

Art Clokey was born October 12, 1921 in Detroit, Michigan. And later died in January 8, 2010 in Los Osos, California. His birth name is Author Charles Farrington. While growing up his parents got a divorce when he was nine years old, Clokey stayed with his father until his father died in a car crash. After his fathers passing he went to go live with his mother and stepfather. When he got to his mothers house his stepfather didn’t want to raise another mans son, so they sent him to an orphanage. When Clokey was eleven or twelve he was adopted by a man named Joseph W. Clokey.

Art Clokey playing with GumbyWhen Art was adopted his new father taught him the arts. How to paint, draw, and do film making. His father was a musician who taught at the college. He took Art on his trips to Canada, Mexico and all sorts of other places where he learned a lot more about the art wold. Art attended Pomona College, then in 1943 he joined World War II. After he was done with the military he continued his schooling at his fathers alma mater, Miami University in 1948. Once he was done with school he started his work in animation.


Watching Gumby his most famous work, I love how a lot of the stuff in the background is Michigan related. The equipment in some of the videos say “Michigan” on the side of the trucks.

Also that there is always an adventure Gumby goes on in the episode. Something always seems to be happening to Gumby when he just has the most simple task to do. And that he is made out of clay his body will form into the shapes or make the impressions when his body makes contact with something.

-Allie Hayden, ART2570: Video Art

George Metaxas

George Metaxas attended California Institute of the Arts in their Masters of Experimental Animation for his first animation, The Blank Page. Metaxas initially started out as an architect, but left his job to complete his first animation. Although he enjoyed architecture he has said, “…the way animation can capture life and movement intrigues me far more.” He learned about stop motion and completed his first animation in his bedroom, completely from cardboard.

He claims to be inspired by Dave Avanzino and Looney Tunes, particularly the shorts by Chuck Jones. Dave Avanzino is a fine artist in Disney and his works range from drawings to sculpture to production designer. Avanzino’s use of shadows and layering give his works a level of depth that Metaxas has replicated in his stop motion animations that draw you in further. In regards to Chuck Jones, Metaxas admires his storytelling. Although you could predict the ending, Jones would throw twists and turns but still stay true to the characters, keeping you entertained the entire time.

Again, Metaxas shows off his mastering over cardboard and brings us a silly story of space and survival. Here he’s gained more experience and pushed the depth and complexity of what’s going on. We get to know these characters as he introduces them, just by what he’s included. Jemima for example, we see all her belongings cluttered about her room and yet she has countless bags just sitting on a rug. The amount of things she has in her room can lead us to believe those are already packed as well.

-Erin Ford, ART2750: Video Art

Henry Selick

Henry Selick is an American stop-motion director, writer, production designer and producer who is most know for directing James and the Giant Peach, Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline.

Selick’s interest and fascination with stop-motion and animation started at a young age when he saw the stop-motion animation, The Adventures of Price Achmed. Although he is most well known for his commercial endeavors, Selick has a strong body of artistic works the broader public is not as familiar with.

-Olivia Morrissey, ART2570: Video Art