Earth Breathing, 2017
outdoor audio installation
25 - 29 May 2017
Earth Breathing – an audio installation made up of the ambient local sounds to Arteles – birds, trees swaying in the breeze, winds, cars passing on the road at a distance, a buzzing bee. These noises layered with sounds of human breath are heightened, broadcasted and experienced back in the outdoors.
The piece was initiated by my audio walks where I recorded myself talking to myself walking through the forest – it is here that the sounds of the environment silenced me – to consider these noises as the earths breath. I was reading Clarice Lispector and her words informed my experience, “The worlds continual breathing is what we hear and call silence” and “You do not understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body”.
The piece was collaborative in it’s recording and outcome. I invited people to actively listen without instruction – participants moved freely – meditating, crawling, running around, breathing in unison laying on the ground, rolling around and confusing pre-recorded bird sounds with the in-situ bird sounds – conjuring up narratives of birds talking to their former selves.
Kayo Ishikawa, performed three performances inside ‘Earth Breathing’ in her Earth “tomsuma” hat. Kayo’s practice negotiates the ritual of tea ceremony, tai-chi movement, contemporary dance and humour – here she weaved Finnish mythology into her performances. She interpreted the Kalevala creation of earth story, birthing the earth as egg and gifting flowers for Earths birthday. She listened to her tomsuma earth hat, blessed past artworks in the forest, performed back cleansing rituals, gave a tea ceremony for the sauna God Tonttu - all in good humour.
Kayo and I questioned, “what is nature?” in a landscape continually over turned by humans and “how do we negotiate our complicity in this situation?” Kayo taught me the Japanese word SAMPO which means, “walking”, “a magical artefact that brought good fortune to the holder. It is something that made great out of thin air” and “dancing of hearing the breathing earth” – sampo is of rich relevance for both of our work.
Also, conversations with Australian writer Pip Newling on Place and Race in our Australian context significantly impacted my thinking on the political nature of my site-specific public practice and also deepened my understanding on my position of privilege, triggering me to create a personal ethics manifesto for me and the practice.
With the support of: