This is a project page for a long term project involving sound installation in the Dandenong Ranges and surrounding areas. The project involves the design and creation of a core set of equipment that will be a community resource for making sonic artworks. Centred around this equipment will be a series of artistic outcomes and workshops that span the life of the project. At present it is envisioned that the project will have a 5 year life span.
The installation rig would be configured so that it can be installed in a variety of bushland sites and run from solar power for several weeks.
During the life of the project a number of sound installations* will be created by artists from the local region who have experience in sound art or those who are interested and have participated in the educational elements of the project as outlined below. An example of a possible sound installation currently projected by the author is to work with children to record improvisations of bird sounds which would be edited into a sonic composition for a bushland setting.
* A sound installation is a sonic artwork usually involving loudspeakers that is designed for a specific space. The sounds used are generally selected to highlight or have some relationship to the space (including its acoustic properties) of the installation. Installations usually run continuously so that people can experience it in a casual way as they pass through the space.
Sound installations over a 5 year period in various locations around the Yarra Ranges.
Workshops for participating artists that develop and explore themes within which individual installation artworks could be made. An overarching question of what sounds or sonic processes “work” in bushland sites could be used to guide the workshops. These themes could be used as a kind of curatorial umbrella that could link or frame a series of works across the life of the project.
Education and training sessions for artists interested in learning how to make sonic art installations.
Sound walks guided walks for the general public in places such as Birdsland Reserve run by experts who can point out the interaction between sound and environment.
Knowledge Transfer and Exchange
Sonic artworks could be developed in conjunction with workshops that develop artistic approaches and enable an exchange of ideas and knowledge between participating artists. The workshops could be held at Burrinja while individual works would be created in artists workspaces.
Training and education sessions could be held for artists and students who may be interested in learning how to make sound installations. These sessions would cover basic technology and theories of sound and sound art practice.
Possible Artistic Project Themes
As a provocation, various themes or processes could be explored collectively by participating artists. Themes could be developed in workshops. An overarching question of what sounds or sonic processes “work” in bushland sites could be used to guide the workshops. These themes could be used as a kind of curatorial umbrella that could link or frame a series of works across the life of the project. In addition, workshops could consist of walks to select possible sites for future installations. Listed below are possible themes (other themes could be developed in the workshop process):
Installations that are like a sound walk. Recorded prompts could be given that assist visitors to slow down, listen and notice properties, qualities and processes in the soundscape of the site of the installation. Expert narration could point out relationships between sounds and the acoustic properties of the site (occlusion, filtering and reflection for example), discuss how the soundscape of the site changes with weather conditions and the time of day. (note to Matt Riley: this might be a great pairing with the Yaliguth app).
This theme could be a good starting point for the project as a whole.
The theme would explore how listening changes when proxy sounds are presented instead of those one might expect to encounter. This could be done using a range of sounds (found, synthesised or produced from musical instruments) that are edited to mimic natural sounds found in the site of the installation.
In the field of acoustic ecology, musicians are working with ecologists to do population estimation based on the analysis of field recordings taken from a network of recording sites across a region in which the population is being measured. This is made possible by the fact that creatures adopt calls within specific frequency bands (spectral registers) that are separated from other creatures and other sounds in the environment. Works could be made that reinforce or avoid spectral bands that are present in the installation site.
Birds often use calls to delineate their spatial territory. A number of works could be created that delineate spatial features or distributions in a selected environment.
Sound From Site
Works that consist of sounds made by objects found on the site of the installation or by recordings of sonic events on site.
While generally speaking, the range of natural sounds in the bush have remained constant over long spans of time, there may be changes due to the impact of humans on the landscape. What sounds might have been present 100, a 1000, 100,000 years ago? Could those sounds be presented back into the space?