Friedrich Kittler: Believing the Sirens
Thu, December 16, 2004 7 pm CET, Lecture

In the twelfth verse of his Odyssee, Homer provides the motif of this study by having the hero, who is tied to the ship’s mast and his helmsman, who has his ears blocked, glide past the tempting song of the two sirens. Here we are not only dealing with one of the most well-known literary motifs, but also with the beginning of a type of song in Europe. Or at least that is the assumption of the research team, with which media theorist Friedrich Kittler set off for the Bay of Salerno in April 2004. Kittler and his team explore the question of whether Homer’s sirens present an (auto)suggestive world of sound or a natural phenomenon that can be captured as a soundtrack. In his lecture, he will report on the inception, content, and result of this sound-archeological expedition. Friedrich Kittler received the ZKM media prize in 1993 for his theoretical work and today is Professor of aesthetics and media history at Humboldt University in Berlin.

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