Lake Sorell – Tasmania

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Despite the wintery conditions it was impossible to refuse an invitation to spend time at Lake Sorell in Tasmania’s mid-highlands with printmaker Melissa Smith. The aim was to collect audio recordings that will accompany an exhibition of Smith’s prints featuring the region this October. More about the exhibition and sound piece will be posted later.

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The lake was bigger than I expected. Its vast number of inlets each revealed distinct personalities. Surrounded by patches of open farmland, marshes and forest, and weather which constantly changed, I found the place as stunning as it was unknowable. 

The challenge was to find objects to record that would animate the exhibition space. Sounds that would speak of the area; to use specific microphones that would reveal its hidden world; to present the lake beyond the obvious sounds of water. 

An area of farmland next to the lake’s shoreline contained a pocket of gigantic skeletal trees. Their slow decay seemed incongruous in an area full of life. A steady wind provided an opportunity to record their collective voice. Deep, slowly rising and falling, the sound in time with the pace of the land. With the aid of contact microphones, the trees were reanimated, life reverberating within their dry wooden frames.

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