This time last week I was preparing the presentation of Reclamation for an audience on the closing night of Adhocracy 2013. The preceding days of the residency had been busy with regular morning field trips, an artist talk in the afternoon, preparing a daily listening station and lots of thinking in between. So by Monday afternoon I was nearing total exhaustion, but still carried with reserves of excitement and enthusiasm for the project. My presentation was scheduled for 10pm and I had completed the work by 6pm, so there was plenty of time to (attempt to) relax and hang out with fellow artists and friends who had dropped by to check out the presentations and performances.
The finalised version of Reclamation began above the surface of the water with the clamour of the Portside area around Gawler Reach – a crew trimming the sails of the One And All, the thunder of cars crossing the Nelson Street Bridge and the distant wail of an angle grinder. After a minute or so, a passage below the water’s surface is made via the vibrations of the bridge and the subterranean resonances of a nearby drain before the listener becomes immersed in the underwater environment. An ‘industrialised water’ section is emphasised at first, dominated with the whirrs, drones and hiss of boats idling and traversing the water. Despite the presence of these industrial sounds, evidence of the natural world is already present in the audible clicks, pops and snaps of the crustaceans and mollusks that occasionally emerge out of the mix. Eventually these and other natural sounds dominate the work during the ‘reclaimed water’ section. Reclamation then ends quietly with the hushed sounds of shifting sand substrates before gradually fading into silence.
I was delighted to have such an attentive audience for the presentation of the work, the majority of whom (from what I could see) sat focused for the duration with their eyes closed. The Vitalstatistix Theatre was a lovely space to present the work with its acoustic properties scaling off and ‘complementing’ some parts of the mix that I thought could have used a little more work. It’s wonderful when a space can do these sorts of things for you.
I haven’t posted a stream of Reclamation here, as I feel it is still a work in progress and requires a bit more revision and mixing before I allow it to be heard beyond last Monday night’s presentation. In the meantime I’ll be posting some Portside recordings as part of the ongoing Field Studies edition.