Department of Art and Art History Calendar

Design Lecture Series presents Paul Elliman

Sirens Taken for Wonders

London-based designer/artist Paul Elliman on the emergency evacuation procedure for a UT lecture hall and a brief history of sirens.

Paul Elliman is known for his work with a found typography of objects and industrial debris. He also follows the human voice through many of its social and technological guises, often imitating other languages and sounds of the city. For the New York biennial Performa 09, his project Sirens Taken for Wonders involved a live radio panel discussion on the coded language of emergency vehicle sirens, along with several guided siren-walks through parts of Manhattan. During 2010, he contributed a series of whistled versions of bird-song transcriptions by the composer Olivier Messiaen for the show We Were Exuberant and Still Had Hope at Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht. His work was part of the exhibition Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language curated by Laura Hoptman at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Elliman is also visiting critic at Yale School of Art, New Haven, where he has taught since 1997, and thesis supervisor for the Werkplaats Typografie, an international graduate programme in Arnhem, Netherlands.