Diamanda Galas



Diamanda Galás’ second album is sometimes referred to as Panoptikon (the composition on the A-side of the album). The album consists of two pieces: 'Panoptikon', which was inspired by Jack Henry Abbott, whose 1981 autobiographical book In the Belly of the Beast chronicled his experiences in the prison system, and 'Song from the Blood of Those Murdered', a work dedicated to the political prisoners who were tortured and executed during the 1967-74 Greek military junta. The album, originally released on the label Metalanguage (founded by Henry Kaiser and Larry Ochs in 1978), has long been out of print. It will now be available for the first time on CD and via streaming. Remastered by Heba Kadry, with updated artwork overseen by Galás, it follows the recent reissue of Galás' 1982 solo debut The Litanies of Satan (2020) and De-formation (2021) on Intravenal Sound Operations
Panoptikon is a cry of rage by a caged prisoner against his jailer, who is concealed from his victims by an impenetrable wall of technology. The title of the work derives from a design for a new kind of prison, proposed in 1843 by Jeremy Bentham. This edifice consisted of a central observation tower, ringed by multiple tiers of cells. Each prisoner could be kept under continual observation by his keepers, yet he would see neither them nor his fellow inmates. Such a polarization of power, manifested through architectural constraint and omnipresent surveillance, would leave an indelible mark upon the victim, even after release
In Galás’ piece, the architecture of the Panoptikon is a model for the architecture of the performance work. The observation tower is aurally present as a continuous pulse, placed behind the audience and in opposition to the performer/victim through whose ranting can be seen the progressive psychosis of one buried alive. The walls of his prison become increasingly monolithic as layer upon layer of sound is built up around him - each one a transformation of the sound of her voice
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