At the heart of the exhibition resides a simple, yet compelling question: where are we when we listen? At the cinema, at the theatre, or while watching TV, sound expands what we see to make the presented world feel real. But what happens when that ritual of frame disappears?
Site Unseen (2017) presents a series of sound installations which question our perception of different spaces and places. Across the exhibition, sound is used to explore the space outside of what we see, and to try and understand where it is in our minds that the sound of place resides.
A joint exhibition between Atticus Bastow and photographer Liss Fenwick, Wrought & Hewn (2017) is a multi-site response to the industrialised landscape, creating a link between the constructed environment and the disrupted natural environment from which it arises.
Wrought (2017) is a photographic exhibition exploring an obscure mining town in rural Queensland with a globally connected history. Spanning five years, this project presents the fruits of a prosperous enterprise alongside studies of the devastated river nearby.
Hewn (2017) is a sound installation tracing the narrative of resource transfer from unearthing of raw materials, through to their eventual manufactured ends. The sonic and sculptural components of the work comprise a documentational response to three separate instances of industrialised landscape; a vehicle manufacturing plant, a defunct quarry, and an oil refinery.
Exhibited at Testing Grounds.
Location Study No. 7
Location Study No. 7 (2017) speaks to a duality within placial narrative. It examines the harnessing of the natural environment for resource generation, whilst presenting the constructed environment’s need to self-generate as a contingency to a potential lack of necessary resources.
Exhibited in 'Phantasmagoria' at Bogong Centre for Sound Culture.
Wardens (2017) is an ode to Japanese vending machines (自動販売機 jidohanbaiki), ever varied and ubiquitous in character. Inductive microphones were utilised to take recordings of the electromagnetic outputs of a collection of vending machines located in Ogu Ginza shopping street in Higashiogu, Tokyo. These recordings were then featured in a generative and performative installation (spatialised in 6 channels, with one speaker underneath each machine), rearticulating the hidden sounds of the machines in ebbing and flowing clustered harmonies.
Exhibited / performed as part of 'Global Local' - an MOU between Musashino Art University and RMIT University.
".kara is the result of a compositional project wherein each track focuses on a single source material for all sonic components. Thanks to Darrin Verhagen and Philip Samartzis for support and guidance during the creation of this album.
The limited edition cassette run uses high-bias Type II chrome tape cassette stock encoded with Dolby Type-C noise reduction. Each cassette is hand numbered and includes exclusive acetate art prints - limited to 30 copies."
All tracks written and arranged by Atticus Bastow Artwork by Atticus Bastow
"The source material for this album was recorded in the Victorian high plains during my stay at the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture's 'Supported Residency Program'. Thanks to Philip Samartzis and Madelynne Cornish for having me on their wonderful program."
All tracks written and arranged by Atticus Bastow Artwork by Atticus Bastow
"Tim Catlin formed the Overtone Ensemble in 2012 in order to perform works using his self-made "Vibrissa" instruments. Each instrument consists of twelve vertically mounted aluminium rods that are longitudinally stroked by hand to produce ethereal "singing" tones. The long sustaining nature of the rods sound and microtonal tunings allow players a sonic palette of complex textures and harmonic complexity. Other instruments used include massed hand-bells, quarter-tone bells, e-bowed acoustic guitars, re-tuned glockenspiels, wineglasses and long wire instruments.
The ensemble's compositions utilise acoustic phenomena arising from microtonal tuning such as phasing, combination tones and sympathetic vibrations, as well the effects of room resonance. All sounds are acoustic in origin without effects or sound processing. The results are works of shimmering intensity and pulsating beauty.
The Overtone Ensemble are: Tim Catlin, Atticus Bastow, Philip Brophy and David Brown.
Since forming in 2012 the group have been well received at festivals such as Slow Music, NOW now, Sound Out, Light in Winter and Liquid Architecture as well as various galleries and clubs within Australia. Group members have a long history of involvement in the experimental music, sound art and improvised music both within Australia and internationally."
"PROGRAM NOTES: The natural frequencies of the body rumbles a deep note, and the mind purrs to joins the body’s song – feeding into an intense and alluring harmony. Inhibition dissolves. On soft ground, a vast earthy horizon, four parts of one whole congregate for an expanded moment.
Admission into the Everyday Sublime assembles a choreographic and sonic experience that that lures the observer through unexpected states of energised tranquillity. Through studies of alternative medicine and energy therapies, this new work by dancer and choreographer Lilian Steiner investigates the body’s malleable relationship to weight and density, light as an extension of the body, the sculptural nature of sound and the healing power of its resonant frequencies."
Performed as part of Next Wave Festival, 2016
Location Study No. 6
Location Study No. 6 (2015) focuses on Port Phillip Bay as the site in question, conducting a 30 day audit of the changeable nature of its physical character, as well as the external influences brought upon the bay due to industrial infrastructure on the Maribyrnong river, as well as from the Port of Melbourne shipping traffic. Again, natural components (seawater collected from 30 different points in the bay) as well as non-physical data (MGRS, time, wind speed and direction, temperature), and were presented along with a text work in order to represent the experiential qualities of each of the thirty instances amongst the site. The sonic component overlayed the industrial site over the presented data, this time created from multiple sources in order to present an acousmatic and idealistic image of an overbearing industrial presence. The sound of harsh, industrial machinery and a generally noisy atmosphere within the binaural headphone soundfield was all encompassing, placing the participant in the centre of this implied industrial environment. This imposed an extremely sinister and unsettling mood onto the orderly and minimal collection of physical and non-physical data. By so doing, sound created a dramatic narrative around an otherwise disparate presentation of data, in turn creating a cohesive unification of the inferred sites.
Exhibited in: ‘The Botanic Garden’ at The Gallery, St Kilda Town Hall, 2016 'Science Friction' at Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, 2015 'Tomorrow Never Dies' at Linden New Art, 2015
Mass (2015) extends on the concepts interrogated in Shift, creating a further sense of immersion into the work this time with the use of temperature (oppressive heat provided by an electric column heater), and smell (due to the geosmins in the scoria gravel, and the paint fumes from heat-activated walls).
The sonic components for this work were recorded inside the Mt McKay power station near Falls Creek, paired with physical artefacts of natural stone and melted snow from Pretty Valley within the Alpine Shire.
Exhibited at Project Space / Spare Room gallery, 2015
Noise Quartet Meditation premiered as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2014) at The Substation, Newport. The work received the 2014 Green Room Award for Concept and Realisation and nominations for the Shirley McKechnie Award for Choreography and Best Female Dancer (Briarna Longville).
"PROGRAM NOTES: Noise Quartet Meditation investigates the power of tranquility in its relationship to chaos, and the resonant harmony existent in their perpetual exchange.
The amplification of the most imperceivable of vibrations swells until it unravels as a cyclone of moving flesh and sound. As a dialogue forms between the turbulent and calm, the presence of both body and sonic activity exist larger than their physical states.
A deep rumble. A sweeping sensation of peaceful intrigue."
Performed at: Dance Massive, 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2015
Location Studies 1 - 5
Location Studies 1 - 5 (2014) intends to take the participant to the natural components of a work, rather than transplant them into a blank meeting space such as a gallery. Using GPS and the military grid reference system, the participant would take a copy of the corresponding sound work to the exact marked location at one of five points in the Australian landscape (Mt Oberon, Mt Dandenong, the Brisbane Ranges, Pretty Valley, and Rocky Valley) with the intent of listening to the work at the marked location, thus creating a direct and totally immersive site overlay experience. My other site responsive works operate on a more conceptual realm without the expectation that the audience will travel to the location. The transplantation of physical material - along with impressionistic text responses and non-physical data (GPS, MGRS, altitude, distance from corresponding sound recording) - then becomes a way to document the experience of the site in question, creating a midway site between the studio and the gallery. This abstract documentation intentionally avoids photographic, videographic, and phonographic methods in order to explore new possibilities of site representation, as well as intentionally withholding certain experiential qualities of the site for later discovery after the required expedition.
Exhibited at First Site Gallery, 2014
Shift (2014) employs a combination of natural artefacts (raw stone sourced from the natural landscape) and field recordings (instances of static industrial ambiences such as air conditions and ventilation systems) in order to overlay two sites that create a sense of immersion. Presented via the use of headphone listening in conjunction with magnifying glass viewing, the sonic components create dramatic perceptual shifts in the engagement with the physical and material components of the work. The choice to obfuscate the detail in the sonic component (via a removal of high-frequency detail through the use of low-pass EQ filters, in turn creating a scarcity of materializing sound indices) invites the participant deeper into the sound field, complementing the augmented visual detail, and expanding the scale from the macro to the celestial (in terms of feedback from participants). The works exhibited in both Shift and Mass use sound to superimpose an imagined temporality on top of otherwise static sculptural elements. The minimal, understated nature of the sound components in these pieces emphasises a dramaturgical inference of imagined scale and ominousness, and by so doing suspended the critical reality of the experiencer into the realm of the felt and the imagined.
Swarm & Murmuration (2013) was the foundation for an investigation into the participatory element inherent within performative site-specific works. The concept for the piece evolved out of an investigation of activating the listening space, inspired by the numerous sound installations created by British sound artist Ray Lee, particularly his work Siren at the Melbourne Festival in 2009. Though where the positions of Ray Lee’s moving sonic sculptures are ultimately fixed, Swarm & Murmuration took the sound emitters mobile with the use of smartphones. Situated in and around the patrons, a group of approximately 40 performers slowly built a singing, buzzing cloud of tones with the use of digital tone generators. Through an engagement with the piece by participating with their own phone, or by simply listening in the space, sound melds audience and participant into a single experiential role. For participants not creating sound, the use of surround sound playback, as well as the dynamic and shifting spatialisation via the movement of the player-participants, created a totally unique and all-encompassing soundfield. The listener-participants also had the potential to move about the space themselves, using their own position in the soundfield to rebalance the piece as they see fit (this also applied to the listening experience of the player-participants). This spatial rebalancing ability of the listener-participant is also key to my approach to solo live performance.
Performed at: MONA FOMA Festival, 2015 Liquid Architecture festival of Sound Art, 2013
“As people caught on, the audience realised they were doing more than simply listening to music or looking at art. Collectively, they were creating the work themselves as the swarm grew in sound and momentum into an orchestra of beautiful electronic noise.” The Guardian
“Crowd-sourced and relational sound art using smartphone technology is an incredible sight. Hundreds of faces bending down to the cool light of their phones and making sounds here at PW1. It is an experience that will not easily be forgotten.” @melbournecollective
"The album in question is the result of a small odyssey, a day of guerrilla recording in sweltering February heat. The space: the cavernous guts of a now-demolished Amcor printing and packaging facility here in Melbourne.
A week before the building was due to go down, Roussemoff lugged their tools of destroy deep into the facility, to a gutted laboratory; a room rich with swirling reverb and dead industrial memories. Surviving potentially hazardous chemicals, oppressive heat and even electrocution, the Melbourne trio made it out alive with 6 tracks, 40minutes and 40 seconds, and a full length album of nothing but pure vibe.
Mixed and Mastered by Myles Mumford (Martin Martini and the Bone Palace Orchestra, Lamplight, Peter Knight, Howl At The Moon) the album is an evocation of heavy, organic, soul. Mumford's idiosyncratic approach to mixing catalyses and amplifies Roussemoff's own uniquely dynamic approach to heaviness.
All songs written by Roussemoff; Atticus Bastow, Matt Delaney, Dave Robinson Engineered by James Cvetkovski at Amcor Printing and Packaging (now demolished) Mixed/Mastered by Myles Mumford Produced by Roussemoff and Myles Mumford Artwork/Art Direction by Shane Reynolds"