A bit of a delay on this post, lots of travel…and a bit tired.
After three days of intensive workshopping on the WIRED LAB farm, the WIRED LAB Open Day on Saturday allowed our group to have a day off then reconvene later in the evening with WIRED LAB artists and members of the community. During the morning I enjoyed having a bit of time to myself and took some time exploring the streets of inner Cootamundra, finding some beautiful period houses, roosting Cockatoos in a church bell tower and leafy wide roads. It had rained for most of the early morning and was very humid with occasional drizzle, which didn’t bode well for the planned Open Day site of the WIRED LAB farm. So an alternative was set up.
What an alternative it was! The Muttama Hall provided a lovely venue for live performances whilst on the surrounding grounds a couple of tents had been erected for installations: one by renowned UK sound recordist Chris Watson and the other, which was a group listening station with deckchairs and headphones featuring wire compositions by David Burraston and Gary Bradbury. A delicious selection of food was provided for dinner and a well stocked bar kept things nicely lubricated before a programme of live performances in the hall got underway.
After a warm welcome from an indigenous representative, a recording of Alan Lamb’s The Last Anzac wire composition was played, which set the scene nicely. David Haines and Joyce Hinterding then took the stage with customised circular antennas and performed an interesting set which explored the peripheral electro-magnetic frequencies on stage and around the hall. It was a great performance that was quite theatrical, and at times a bit amusing.
Alan Lamb then performed with his Great Bow. A wire had been erected across the middle of the hall with polystyrene boxes (as loudspeakers/transducers) positioned on both sides of the wire. A vertical column with a nylon string was erected and connected to the middle of the wire and Alan invited the audience to turn our seats to face him as he performed. It was a brilliant performance. Over the last three days of the workshop Alan had demonstrated his mastery of the instrument, and this performance was no exception. Alan explored the harmonic structure of the wire with a series of sweeping and cyclical strokes of the Great Bow – drawing the bow across the vertical wire, which in turn caused the wire to vibrate symphatically. Some of the harmonic response and rich droning textures he generated were astounding. The acoustics of the hall came into play nicely too. Alex Cuffe, who I was sitting next to, told me that I had a big grin on my face by the end of the performance. I must have enjoyed it, then.
Following an interval, David Burraston performed an interesting set consisting of chaotic and cellular automata instruments which explored chaotic theory and ideas concerning rain propagation in relation to the wires. The final performance by Alan Lamb, David Burraston, William Barton and Delmae Barton was something very special. Alan and David were seated on one side of the stage with a computer and mixer, whilst William and Delmae were seated on the other side of the stage with their Didgeredoos. The performance began with a wire composition by Alan and David which examined various states of the wire – exploring a variety of dynamics, harmonic textures, transients and inherent sonic artefacts of the wire. Around ten minutes in, William Barton played a few notes on his Didgeredoo, punctuating Alan and David’s sonic texture with short tones and occasional phonetic sounds. The performance concluded with Delmae Barton singing into her Didgereroo whilst making slow gestures with her right hand. The vocal effect and melody was unlike anything I had heard before and it was absolutely stunning – the ending left me with a few tears and was met with rapturous applause from the auidence. A wonderful way to conclude the night!
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Whew. What a week it was! I’m very honoured to have been involved with the WIRED LAB over the last few days. My thanks to Sarah, David and Alan for their wonderful work during the workshop and putting together an amazing Open Day experience.
A shout out as well to my fellow participants who made the past week all the more enjoyable!