This soundscape of Athens, Greece, offers an evocative and immersive insight into sounds of everyday life in the city. Athens has become home to many refugees from Syria and elsewhere, who have brought with them new sounds documented in this piece. Engaging with spaces of refuge through sound is a method that can help us outmanoeuvre the tropes of photography which often focus on the singular, suffering humanitarian victim – resisting these tropes and attempting to develop more nuanced understandings of everyday displacement and hosting is something the Refugee Hosts project aims to achieve through our ‘spaces and places, not faces’ approach to representation.

While providing a small number of photographs to help the reader/listener situate themselves, the authors of this sound essay have decided to limit their description of the sites or processes recorded here, and rather to allow the sounds to speak for themselves, adopting what they term an ‘anthropology in sound’. Listen to the soundscape below, and visit our Recordings and Soundscapes and Creative Archive to listen to and view other pieces, including a soundscape of Hamra, Lebanon, and Baddawi refugee camp in Lebanon.



Summer in Athens, a Sound Essay by Said Azim Karimi, Muhammad Sukarno Kurdi, Georgios Sourmelis, Tom Western and Sofia Zafeiriou

This piece is conceived as an anthropology in sound. Rather than writing a descriptive text to guide the listening process, we invite you to interpret these sounds as you wish. Sound produces social relations, and sound can tell different stories about displacement and encounter, about space and representation. We hope these sounds speak for themselves. Thank you for listening.

Recorded in August 2017, in Athens, Greece.

Locations: Victoria metro station, Botanikos Sunday Bazaar, National Gardens, Eschilou Street, Exarcheia Square, Thisseio, Metro Athinas, Victoria Square, Central Market and Athinas Street, Omonoia Square, Fethiye Mosque.

Recordings made using a combination of technologies: Schoeps CMC 641 and 8 (M/S), Zoom H5, and mobile phones.

Photos by Muhammad Sukarno Kurdi.


To listen to more soundscapes, visit our creative archive.

To read other pieces in our Representations of Displacement series click here, and to write for the series, click here.


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