On Saturday I attended the Wired Lab Open Day. Wired Lab is based on a farm near Cootamundra, NSW, and is an “artist led organisation evolving interdisciplinary art practices in rural Australia”. A big element of the Wired Lab is their large scale fence wires that traverse parts of the property. The wires sing in the wind, and make all sorts of pinging sounds when struck by falling rain or other elements of the environment.
The open day consisted of visiting 4 installations, followed by some dinner and performances.
The installations included an immersive walk whilst being guided by a recording, and wearing special overalls with gum leaves sewed on, a ham radio experience, a resonating empty grain silo, and some listening posts which included some VLF recordings, some great Chris Watson nature recordings edited into a piece by David Burraston, and a spot to listen to some of the wires in real-time.
The performances in the evening started off with a David Burraston piece, which was a piece edited from various field recordings. His set-up used Logic Pro, outputting 8 channels into an Allen & Heath analogue console, which was connected up to a Soundcraft digital mixer for some additional effects engines. David performed his piece through fader moves and EQ adjustments. Then came a harmonic overtone singing performance from a local community choir, directed by Dean Frenkel and Bukhu Ganburged. Dean and Bukhu had spent a few weekends training the choir in the fundamentals (no pun intended) of harmonic overtone singing leading up to the event. The piece was impressive, especially given the relative newness to the art of the choir, with Bukhu playing horse head fiddle accompaniment. The final performance was a piece by David Burraston, Garry Bradbury and Sarah Last, performed by David Burraston and Gary Bradbury. The piece was a “bovine opera”, or a trailer of at least, as the team are working on expanding this into a larger piece. The piece is based around the experience of weening time on a cattle farm, the time of year when calves get separated from their mothers. At that time the calves and cows call out to each other across the fields as they are missing each other. It is an aurally intense time on the farm, and the resulting piece performed is even intenser.
Despite the weather being quite cold and breezy, the day was great. I find all this art using sound to be inspiring, and it is especially inspiring to see such things be able to operate in rural Australia, which might often otherwise be considered void of many contemporary arts practices.