Auditory Visions: Ascension II by Alexi Keywan

Keywan_Ascension II

Ascension II by Alexi Keywan


The work of Alexi Keywan can be identified through her etched silhouettes of quotidian urban scenes. This is shown to a powerful effect in her Ascension series with towers rising above the horizon dominating the landscape. Pinholes mark the paper, almost signifying the perimeter of the towers’ sonic territory.

For Ascension II I wanted to adjust the viewer’s sense of spatial perspective by using recordings of electrical activity that would draw attention down upon the township overseen by the tower. Here sound acts to divert the focus away from the main image to details that might otherwise have been overlooked at a cursory glance.

The entire Auditory Visions collection is now online. Please follow the link to view the works. If you are in the local area please drop in to the Lismore Regional Gallery, NSW before October 24th.

Auditory Visions: Atmosphere II by Michael Schlitz

Schlitz_Atmosphere II

Atmosphere II by Michael Schlitz


Living in his Tasmanian bushland home Michael Schlitz is closer to nature than most. As a result Schlitz’s work depicts abstracted trees, landscapes and representations of the elements. The 5 prints which comprise the Atmosphere series continues this practice with each work illustrating the different patterns of weather that envelope and affect us.

Schlitz’s striking woodblock prints are at once alien yet recognisable. Fine black lines cut through the air in a tempestuous yet balanced manner. Atmosphere II depicts snow drifting and swirling on its descent to earth. It is a quiet scene which needed to be reflected in its auditory companion piece.  I used a field recording of snow dropping on fallen dried leaves (from my Estonian residency) to form the central feature in the composition. Subtle tones fade in and out, moving with the wind, in an attempt to position the viewer high in the atmosphere in a place of solitude or isolation.

Auditory Visions continues till October 24th at Lismore Regional Gallery. For those of you who aren’t in the local area please visit the Auditory Visions website to access the prints and sounds from this exhibition.

Auditory Visions: Travis Paterson’s “Drawn”


Drawn by Travis Paterson, 2015. Lambda print.


Auditory Visions is an exhibition combining prints with sound. Original prints by 7 of Australia’s most established and emerging printmakers were created with the intention to have sound added to them, this enhancing the 2D representations on paper. The soundscapes look beyond any literal interpretation and instead seek to listen to life beyond the frame, revealing hidden psychological layers. The exhibition runs for 6 weeks at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

Travis Paterson is an artist whose work often explores queer identities and histories. The Lambda prints Drawn is comprised of a large scan of an original Polaroid. Drawn presents an erotic and highly charged depiction of sexual desire. Using a Polaroid to translate found imagery Paterson has created an ambiguous portrait that speaks of loss and longing.

For this work I recorded the rhythmic click of a needle as it loops at the end of a record. The steady crackly beat provides a foundation upon which layers of sound stretch and fade above it.

You can view the entire Auditory Visions exhibition by clicking on this link.

Auditory Visions: exhibition of soundscapes and prints

Davis_Sant'Alvise III

Sant’Alvise III – Jan Davis (2014)
sugar lift etching with chine collé

Auditory Visions, an exhibition combining prints with original interpretive soundscapes responding to the artworks, will open at Lismore Regional Gallery on the 12th September. The exhibition features works by 7 established and emerging Australian printmakers. The worlds of sound and vision come together in this exhibition curated by printmaker Rona Green and myself.

For the purpose of the exhibition seven contemporary Australian printmakers were invited to contribute two works focussing on an environmental or personal space. In response G.W. Bot, Jan Davis, Rona Green, Alexi Keywan, Bruce Latimer, Travis Paterson, and Michael Schlitz have each created works depicting scenes of quotidian objects under a microscopic lens, exotic locations seen through dreams, and inner worlds rendered visible. Each work was made with the intention to be interpreted through a mix of field recordings and synthesised tones. The 3-minute sound pieces highlight visual and psychological elements within the prints.

Printmaking is a visual medium, but at its best it can trigger and inspire other senses. It is concerned with conveying sensory ideas of texture, space, smell and, in the context of the proposed exhibition, sound. Visitors to the Gallery will be able to listen to the interpretive soundscapes through media players located close to the works. The soundscapes will offer a viewing beyond a literal understanding of the prints, enhancing the viewer’s appreciation of the work in a way that is absent in 2D representations.

I am really excited to have worked with some of Australia’s finest printmakers in this exhibition. Auditory Visions showcases the work of some of our most talented printmakers whose diversity in style and content allowed for a variety of ways to place sound alongside the image. Visitors to the gallery will hear field recordings from the bottom of the Venetian lagoon to the outer edges of the atmosphere, each of which add additional layers to the ink on paper.

The print featured here is by Jan Davis. In 2014 Davis spent time observing the way in which light reflected from the ripples of the Venetian lagoon. While in Venice she completed Sant’Alvise III  for Auditory Visions. Rather than interpret the print with a literal soundscape I imagined the life that exists outside its frame. Thus the sound of church bells and musicians from a Venetian conservatorium blend with the sound of water lapping against the hull of a gondola, none of which are present in the print. Here, sound serves to refocus sight.

The entire Auditory Visions collection is now online. Please follow the link to view the works.

A small aside II: field recordings in animation

Chris Denaro is an animator from Brisbane. As part of his Doctorate in Visual Arts he used physical objects from the forest floor at Teerk Roo Ra National Park in Moreton Bay, Queensland and combined them with metal armatures. His objective was to study the psychological response to nocturnal life within the forest.

Chris requested to use one of my recordings of beetles as they swarmed our local valley last summer. The originality of the creature and its movements is fascinating, and once again I am more than happy to see a recording ending up in a very unexpected place.

More of Denaro’s videos can be found here.



A small aside: recontextualising field recordings

One of the things I enjoy about posting my field recordings and compositions on this site is the unexpected ways in which they might be used by people working in other disciplines. That the recordings don’t remain fixed within the context that I have given them but instead have their significance broadened in the hands of others is often quite heartening.

Impressions by Trent Thompson

Recently Trent Thompson, a thesis student studying architecture at the University of Toronto, asked if he could use a number of recordings for a film he was working on named Impressions. An edited version can be viewed here. Recordings I made in the frozen world of Estonia and here in Australia have been used to complement his images of urban life.

When asked about the film Trent said with the city as protagonist and witness, the series offers
a loose and sprawling pool of images and repeating themes.The fanatic pursuit of the suchness of things finds source in the absence of incident.

Through a post-curatorial method, stills are juxtaposed,related and contrasted. The selection and arrangement of content, played alongside non-synchronous urban murmurs, are skewed by compositional exaggerations. It is with this torsion from which stories are generated:

A field of readings, peculiar relations, instances of ambiguity, points of disunity, mental transitions.

This might be the first in a few posts looking at the work others have done with my recordings. Each from different backgrounds and different stories to tell.

The Colour of Sound: violet (final episode)


A short sample from Violet, the final colour to be interpreted in the Colour of Sound series.


Violet, the colour denoting the imperial ranks in Ancient Greece and Rome, was believed by Aristotle to be heard as an octave, a perfect interval that can be infinitely repeated. Contemporary studies into colour-sound theory are indebted to the work of Aristotle (384-322 BC) whose musings are thought to be the earliest exploration into the subject. His belief in the harmony of the spheres reverberated for centuries influencing scientists such as Isaac Newton in their quest to identify the colour of sound.

This is the final episode in the Radio National series. To listen to it in full visit the Soundproof website.

Radio National have the Colour of Sound as a featured series allowing you to listen to each of the episodes from one page. And now to the next project …