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Sirens (Hardcover) (Michael Bull)
About this item
Sirens are sounds that confront us in daily life, from the sounds of police cars, fire engines and less often - tornado warnings. In World War Two in London during the Blitz –sirens warned people to move into the safety of air-raid shelters. Yet in parallel to this 'Sirens' also have a mythical reality as embodied in the meeting between Odysseus and the Sirens in Greek myth whereby the specter of the 'Sirens' embodied the seductive, but ultimately destructive power of sound over the human subject.
Ideologies of the Sirens embody both the protective and the dangerous elements of Siren sounds - from the Cold War public training exercises in the US in the 1950s and 60s warning of imminent nuclear attack to the seductive power of the Sirens entrenched in popular culture through popular song, from the music of Roxy Music to Tom O'Dell and in filmic representations of the 'femme-fatale' in Film Noir and beyond. The book argues that we should understand 'Siren sounds' both as myth and as materiality embodying both danger and protectiveness. It then poses the question as to whether we can rely on the sirens both in their mythic meanings or in their material meanings in contemporary culture. This question is addressed via the notion of the 'silencing of the sirens'