… “As the bushfires, COVID-19 and increasing urgency of climate action mounted throughout 2020, the ecological concerns of the exhibition, which were largely already implicit in the works selected, took on greater emphasis. The works presented address a wide range of themes—for example the melting of the polar icecaps; species extinction and loss of biodiversity; noise and light pollution; the encroachment of urban on natural spaces; and global warming. Yet for the heaviness of this subject matter, Site & Sound is not a pessimistic exhibition. Rather it provides an opportunity for audiences to listen more closely and in doing so, forge a more meaningful connection to their environment. It encourages us to evaluate our place within the ecology of the world and the role we can play in understanding and preserving it.”
– Lisa Byrne, McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery Director
SITE and SOUND was a collaboration between SIAL Sound Studios, McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, RMIT Sonic Arts Collection and academics and students from RMIT’s College of Design and Social Context.
The exhibition and performances included 46 Australian and international artists working across diverse sound practices along with 8 contributors to the catalogue. The main exhibition space featured the SERPICO, designed by Ross Mcleod and Lawrence Harvey with technical implementation by Simon Maisch. SERPICO is a portable exhibition and performance system for creating immersive sound experience using complex speaker arrays.
Student involvement included Sensing Nature, an MDIT student led by Jeffrey Hannam exploring the design and construction of micro installations to sonify real-time environmental data; a summer studio led by Ross Mcleod to construct and install SERPICO; Inhabitation – performances curated by the Starlings collective of current and recent post-graduates; soundscape workshops by Sophie Gleeson; and curatorial work on a history of environmental sound recording by Master of Arts Industry students led by Prof David Forrest (School of Art). Additional performances were from Liquid Architecture.
For additional documentation and material on the exhibition:
The full exhibition catalogue including essays is here
A video walkthrough of the exhibition is here
Video of a speaker orchestra setup is here
A review of the exhibition in Artlink can be found here