WOW Women, Art & Politics Residency

Installation for the 'Women, Art & Politics' international residency at Footscray Community Arts Centre, March 2017, part of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival Melbourne - a collaboration between Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Collaborate Asia Program and Asia TOPA.

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The artists: Lena Caminha (Timor Leste), Sadaf Saaz (Bangladesh), Fitriani Dwi Kurniasih (Indonesia), Heather Horrocks (AUS) Lisa Greenaway (AUS), Mallika Taneja (India), Ahmarnya Price (AUS), Leticia Caceres (Argentina/AUS) and Bigoa Chuol (Sudan/AUS). 

This soundscape was built as the two week residency progressed, in collaboration with all of the artists. It played immediately following on from a connected collaborative performance of theatre, dance, poetry and sound on Friday 24th March at the Wow cafe, FCAC lawn. The soundscape was then played continually on loop at the wall featuring Fitri DK and Anisa Shabrina Yunus' paste up artwork (perempuan merdeka) throughout the weekend of the festival, 24th/25th March 2017.

the night garden

Collaboration with Nick Azidis (PROJECTIONTEKNIK) and Rose Staff (Radiance) for White Night Melbourne, 18 February 2017. Large-scale projection and multi-zone sound installation in the forecourt of the State Library of Victoria.

The Night Garden grows out of a powerful dream vision inspired by the influential medieval poem Roman de la Rose (The Romance of the Rose), by Guillaume de Lorris. Written by de Lorris around 1230, Roman de la Rose's purpose is 'to both entertain and teach others about the Art of Love'. It's a curious, rich poem open to many interpretations. I adapted the essence of Lorris' original story, discarding the more moralistic (and enormous) coda to the poem by Jean de Meun. In Lorris' story, the dreamer enters a walled garden and discovers the Fountain of Narcissus, in which he sees a beautiful rose, and while looking at it, is struck by numerous arrows by the God of Love causing him to fall in love with the rose. Voice of the dreamer: Thomas Keily. 

The sound installation was designed with MAV: Designed to create "zones" of sound, in which a different experience was felt, depending on where you stand, with the overall effect of an immersive audio environment in the large space of the forecourt. 2 main speaker racks left/right of the façade with the stereo mix of music and directional sounds. 2 left/right speakers in stereo directed sound down the centre of the forecourt stairs, filling in some sound for the main stereo mix and adding additional water, birdsong and atmospheric sounds, plus the voice of the narrator. The lawn areas to the left and right of the stairs were covered with 3 speakers each, each lawn with a different mix of birdsong and atmospheric sound, and the voice of the narrator.

(NB: this video utilises a stereo mix of the whole piece)

The Seadragon's Lair

Collaboration with aquatic scientist and filmmaker Sheree Marris and projection, video artist John Powers, for White Night Melbourne, 18 February 2017. Large-scale projection and soundscape in the La Trobe Reading Room, State Library of Victoria.

Designed for the La Trobe Reading Room, working with MAV. Multi-channel audio designed to rotate around 4 speaker pairs installed in the balcony, 2 more speaker pairs up in the sixth floor balcony, and 2 speaker pairs and 2 sub-woofers in the central podium.

The Seadragon's Lair is an epic 360° underwater adventure set against the backdrop of the State Library’s majestic domed La Trobe Reading Room. The room "descends" under the waters of Port Phillip Bay, immersing the audience into a fantastic world of creatures, all filmed by Sheree and her colleagues and animated by John. The soundscape and music composition was designed to completely immerse the audience through the emotional impact of melody and sound, making something that would appeal to children and adults alike. Many different sources of underwater sounds and electronic composition layered in response to the amazing images captured by Sheree, and John's animations.

It is quite impossible to capture the sonic experience of this work in a stereo mix. The six-storey domed room is as much an instrument in this piece as it is a canvas. The soundscape was designed to work with the resonating qualities of the room - through the six minutes of the work, the frequencies build and combine. I deliberately worked with frequencies that the room would enhance, without losing definition - to create a real sense of the aural qualities of being underwater. Additional speakers on the top balcony enabled me to create a very real upward and downward movement, and therefore a sense of the room descending, and then rising. This spacial separation of the storeys of speakers also enabled me to make the most of the above water sequence, with birds high up in the rafters. 

A stereo mixed video is coming..

White Night 2017, State Library of Victoria: media and social media coverage of The Seadragon's Lair and The Night Garden:


Collaboration with PROJECTIONTEKNIK. Commission of large-scale projection and audio installation for a private event in the La Trobe Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria, 10th March 2016.

Multi-channel (quadro + LFE) audio designed to rotate around 4 speaker pairs installed in the balcony, plus 2 speaker pairs and 2 sub-woofers in the central podium. 5.1 spatial panning and dynamic effects create the illusion of horse races moving counter-clockwise around the dome. Spatially located scenes and sounds mix in the room with surround music and atmosphere. Speaker installation by MAV.

The audio was designed to work in rhythmically with the rotating slide visuals, using multi-layered samples and archival recordings of horse, horse race and stable sounds, and music, including: bookmakers, tic tac men and punters, 1947 England (Pathé); Race call Agua Calientes, PharLap; Race call Melbourne Cup 2011 Dunedin and Red Cadeaux photo-finish; Race call Melbourne Cup 1963 Gatum Gatum win and 1930 PharLap; Randwick, Birdsville and Monto races. Music samples by cellist Mary Lindsay.


Collaboration with Nick Azidis (PROJECTIONTEKNIK), Adem Jaffers and Bentley Dean. Commissioned by the State Library of Victoria for White Night Melbourne, 20th February 2016.

Designed for the La Trobe Reading Room, working with MAV. Multi-channel (quadro + LFE) audio designed to rotate around 4 speaker pairs installed in the balcony, plus 2 speaker pairs and 2 sub-woofers in the central podium. Sounds are spatially located, following the visual movement, with a bed of electronic music composition and drum rhythms mixed through the whole space. The soundscape works intricately with the visuals to take us on a journey through the inception of an idea. 

Multilayered sounds include my own recordings and archival / found material. From bellbirds in the Dandenongs, an Athens train line, sung passages from the Qur'an and bible songs from children in India, to recorded voices from the Golden Records launched with the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. The music forming the basis of the soundscape of IDEATION is a section of Beethoven’s ‘Concerto No. 5, in E-flat Major, Op. 73 ("Emperor")’. Listening to my father learning how to play this piece on the piano gave me the conceptual basis for this work. We hear him playing, tentatively, in the opening. Through the work, the melody is teased out, growing ever more complex, until it is realised at the end in a 1938 orchestral recording. The quotes spoken by the 'spirit of the library' midway through the piece are taken from those engraved into the La Trobe Reading Room walls.