Before the Deluge

Wire fences dissect the land

Broken Hill, a town known for its droughts and dust storms and dry red earth, flooded during my 2-week stay at the Broken Hill Art Exchange. The afternoon before I was out recording the vibration of fence-lines in the wind. This first recording captures the first drops of rain as they hit the wire.

I love the interplay between the elements. Listening to the friction between air and earth I fantasise that this is the sound of eternity, that the sound will still be heard long after the demise of the Anthropocene era. I’m also fascinated by the demarcation of land, fence-lines being a visual display of the colonial cartographer’s hand.

Rain drops on desert earth with contact microphone cable

It was exhilarating to hear the laser-like pings as rain hit the wire but as it gathered momentum I reluctantly switched off the microphones as my recording equipment was not exactly waterproof. Within 24-hours the streets of Broken Hill had turned into fast-flowing creeks, shops were pumping water from their basements, and the site of my recording had become a squelching mud bath.

// These are stereo recordings so please use headphones //


3 thoughts on “Before the Deluge

  1. I’m trying to find something, and perhaps you know about it. This was many years ago (perhaps late nineties) and this guy recorded the contraction/expansion of telephone wires across the Australian outback over many hours, then sped up the audio to make a multi-minute song. Do you know what I’m talking about? No worries if not 🙂


      1. Alan Lamb! Thanks for getting back to me 🙂
        And thanks for this website, I love seeing/hearing stuff like this.


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