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(Re)sounding Histories: On the Temporalities of the Media Event

Penelope Papailias

Keywords: Greek-Albanian border; media event; migrant death; mobile witnessing; public mourning; soundscape; voice

Abstract

This article argues that the media event constitutes a critical mode for experiencing temporality in contemporary society. A perceptual and topological approach is presented centering on the event’s transitivity as it unfolds across event-spaces, media formats, and national media envelopes. My case is the unprecedented ‘live’ televisual coverage of the 1999 hijacking of a Greek bus by an Albanian migrant worker, whose death was publicly mourned in a widely circulated cassette-recorded Albanian memorial song. Focusing on the hijacker’s act of ‘speaking back’ to Greek bosses and police, I link the re-enactments and affective (re)sounding of this contested media event to the violent unsettling and reconfiguration of national borders, ideological discourses, social networks, and labor regimes that occurred after the collapse of European communism and prior to the establishment of the neo-liberal Eurozone.

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