Very honoured to be awarded a “Highly Commended” at the Hidden Sculpture Walk Prize. Thanks to all who lent their voices: Terry, Robin Ayse, Kresho, Ale, Rohan, Gaspare, Derren, Raul and Garth.
This piece is a stereo version of a multi-channel sound and sculpture installation built for the show Flushed, Red, Rubicund and Scarlet.It is the first in a series of Soundpods that you enter inside to experience. Created from luscious red velvets and silken fabrics it is both a sensual and aural experience. The vocals are recorded through a throat microphone and include a snapshot of people speaking about the colour red and its associations, from teapots to genres of film, Chinese weddings dresses to female sexual liberation, red is a colour of passion and difference. The heart beat, recorded with a stethoscopic microphone, seeks to capture internal sounds and combines with the fabrics create a haptic feeling of ‘red’.
Rivers, of course, are metaphors for time – and nature, and for history, all of which, are irreversible processes. The hydrological cycle however is cyclical. 
In the Current forms one layer of a palimpsest of works about the Cooks River in Sydney and is my contribution to the exhibition In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present. Created for the show it seeks to convey in some sense my research to date about the river. Unglamorous and unlovely the Cooks River has been altered beyond recognition in the last two centuries by the gaze of non-indigenous peoples. Through misappropriation, mismanagement and channeling, the river has largely been turned into a drain and is now amongst the most polluted rivers in Australia. Based on the cosmopolitical proposal of French theorist Isabelle Stengers In the Current seeks ‘to “slow down” reasoning and create an opportunity to arouse a slightly different awareness of the problems and situation mobilising us.’ It asks the viewer to consider their place in relation to the river, and not only how their presence and actions have a direct effect, and continuing relevance within political ecology. What this work seeks to explicate is the proposition that there is no identity of practice independent of its environment and our own position, as well as that of non-human actors must be considered in terms of co-existence, and our collective becoming.
Water is collected from various points along the stretch of the Cooks River, and there is one bottle for every kilometre. The tape loop plays a hydrophone recording of underwater sounds and the interactive projection, created in conjunction with Alex Mesker, changes colour according to the observer’s presence. The longer you sty the more opaque the colour becomes(see below).
 Hass, Robert. What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination and the Natural World. New York, NY, USA: Ecco Press, 2013.
 Stengers, Isabelle. “The Cosmopolitical Proposal.” Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, 2005, 994–1003.
I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to work with a number of established and emerging artist colleagues to work on the show In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present. Co-curating with the very talented Terry Pelarek and video artist Danielle Zorbas and under the auspices of senior curator Rhonda Davis we put together a show that I am very proud of.
In the Loop is an inaugural exhibition It arose, as many great happenings do, out of a frustration of the sometimes separate and lonely nature of higher degreee research and the want to celebrating the diversity of arts practice within our department, that being: Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies (MMCCS). Crazy name I know! We wanted to interrogate the liminal and expanding zone of creative practice as research. That is what does it mean to explore independent means of presenting, embodying and manifesting art-as-research; a research that does not simply write about art, but, that is, of it. In the multi-vocal polyphonic environment that is academia, where does creative practice fit in and how can it effect discourse in a unique and inspiring way.
Primarily, the exhibition is about creating platforms which encourage the celebration of art as scientific inquiry within the academic community. As creative practice researchers and practitioners it is sometimes difficult to understand how and where we fit into more common modes of text-driven analysis and neat disciplinary boundaries. Our work is by nature interdisciplinary.
By putting on the show we wanted to amplify the voices which do not fit neatly into more traditional paradigms of inquiry, and create a collaborative contemporary conversation about the place of creative practice within the broader research culture.
Aside form myself, In the Loop showcases work by multimedia research artists and academics Alex Mesker, Vanessa Berry, Terry Pelarek, Danielle Zorbas, Clare Cooper, Wade Marynowsky and Clinton Walker, across sound, video, drawing, installation and live performance.
Here are some pics of the show (all photos copyright of Effy Alesakis unless stated). In the Loop runs until the end of November 2015:
A left lane must turn left road leads to the Ku-rin-gai Wildflower Garden, with most motorists merging back into the fast moving right lanes at the last minute rather than slowing down and following the road to the 123ha park. It is uncuriously peaceful and the distant roar of the traffic fades as you wander further down the tracks. One of the rangers tells me, they were laid by an Aboriginal elder who worked for the council at the time when the park was set up and whose name graces one of the bridges.
The work we made for the festival Urban Ecology is about fostering an awareness and connection with place. It highlights the intersection between man-made reproduction and the natural environment and the importance of engaging with it sustainably. In the gardens here, where natural bushland brushes up against urban life, yet creates an oasis of calm; it asks the viewer to be present and connect with the existing ecologies.
We were privileged not only to be the recipients of the first prize, but also to be able to spend time with some of the devoted park rangers and members of the Australian Plant Society who kindly donated their time and their stories. It has also given me an appreciation of wild flowers that I was unaware of before, noticing and distinguishing them perhaps for the first time. Special thanks to Denis, Jenny, Bob, Judy and Les.
I recently collaborated with video artist Annika Harrison for specially curated show Looking for Sound as Part of the Hungry for Art festival in Ryde.
It is a binaural piece so make sure you wear your headphones!
Follow the link if not working to listen/watch.
“Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human. Meander if you want to get to town.”
This work is about creating an otherworldly, ethereal experience for the viewer, the idea that, while familiar, the space created both sonically and visually is simultaneously dreamlike and hyper-real. The blend of generational voices seeks to give the idea of cyclical time, mimicked in the endless loop of moving through the trees, as well as the impression that the trees themselves are whispering their secrets to those who listen.
Located just off Canal Road the exhibition ran the 14 and 15 March 2015.
It consists of a temporary sound installation, powered by a solar power system, craeted out of recycled materials. Sounds include recordings of water, frogs and birds sourced from national parks around NSW and snatches of interview material by Prof. Mark Taylor. Original flute composition by our friend and magical musician Ben Hingley.
This project forms one layer of a palimpsest of works I am creating on the Cooks River traversing its geography, history, and community through explorations of real and imagined ecologies through its stories.
A big thank you to all the poets who made the work such a success. The audio of the voices gradually pans from left to right.
Here are some snippets:
A slow trickle is all it takes to start, the slow wearing away of the channels of a heart made weary with the turmoil of remembrance, past. …
The river banks widen, and I feel pride when, I look back not with sorrow or regret at the river’s passing but towards a tomorrow where I won’t forget that the river’s course is everlasting, and I know in my heart through strength of will that while the current departs, the river, still, it flows on.BILAL HAFDA
Beyond the highlands of Yagoona.
I watch the river drops open their eyes,
and angels descend so the hunger may be fed. ABDULLAH NOMAN
Tiptoed around the rivers wrist.
He told me that you never step into the same river twice.
Throw rocks into the black ink.
Watch them sink.
Making tidal waves around our ankles. GLORIA DEMILLO
Because I loved you … with the urgency of the river that clambours over rocks sand valleys to rush penitently to the sea, with the love that rebirthed the spring foliage and then scattered the leaves in an autumn breeze to places they would lie untouched for all time. SARA MANSOUR
Navigating the space between Dryness and wetness in emptiness I skim lonely stones on the Lacunae of a Lagoons lament. …
Truth, I realise, is the tentative touch of the
Surface the bubbling and rippling
Bending the structure to allow
For your Curvature,
And not the other way around.
It is bigger than me and so
It becomes me. NATALIE POWPOV
We’re down by the Cooks River and it’s late, past midnight, and we sit in the shadows listening to the humming of the insects. …
In the river the machine settles into the mud, beside the bicycle frames and wheelie bins and traffic cones, the low-tide ghosts. VANESSA BERRY
My home was once a pleasant place of cool waters and fresh grasses.
We ibises lived there since Gondwana land cracked and foundered apart from Pangea. …
Then the water in our ponds started dying up, the grasses browned and died.
The eggs did not hatch. We died in numbers we cannot count.
Like stars in the sky, our bones littered the dry bare earth. …
Those of us with strength took flight, following the winds until we found refuge in the filthy concrete banked river where the once the Gadigal people fished, their children splashing in the shadows. …
We, former gods in another dry land, you now revile as vermin. …
We have adapted. Just like you.
We are your mirror. LOU STEER
The consciousness of this once fine stream
now polluted in the minds
and in reality…
her waters trickle amongst their waste,
no hunter would bend down for a taste
and the Currawongs have flown away.
Willows wallow in her sorrow;
concreted, covered, converted
as does not befit her Indigenous or European names.
Ravaged for decades and awash with shame,
stripped of her beauty, we are to blame,
But the tail of many creatures regenerate,
…and so too will the tail of Gamay. JONATHON DAVIS
For the next month I will be working on an installation for the Crosscurrents Art and Ecology Festival showing on November the 15th with a project entitled:
Where the River Rises: A River of Words
The installation is a collaboration with the amazing Bankstown Poetry Slam Poets run by Bankstown Youth Development Service (AKA BYDS) and the beautiful Sara Mansour.
The work consists of a hand drawn map of words following the river’s flow on the wall. These are created from the poets’ spoken word and written responses and will be largely written by the or own hand. A number of listening devices with headphones will be located on plinths that allow people to listen to mixes of the spoken word versions over sounds recorded of the river. On the day, as well as live performances by participating poets, visitors will be able to record their stories and contribute their own impressions to the project by physically writing onto the wall of the installation.
You can Check out the Flyer here: