Archive for April, 2009

The Ghost of Broken Hill

All my musical projects are carried out under the pseudonym, hiddensounds. The you tube video below is part of a performance I did at an Artist Run Initiative (ARI) in Melbourne. The person in the video is me, manipulating the audio. The visuals are being created by a visual artist from Melbourne called Ben Mastwyk. Enjoy.

Audio and video were captured in Western New South Wales using a digital camera and a digital voice recorder with microphone. The sounds are of the Australian bush, concentrating in this case on bird calls and thunderclaps. They are juxtaposed in the first half of the clip with images of a deep underground mine in Broken Hill, now closed and open to tourists. The second half of the clip is of ‘Jock’ from White Cliffs, an opal mining town, N-E of Broken Hill. He is busy pointing to the sites of White Cliffs while the landscape of Western NSW rolls in the background.

I have titled this piece ‘The Ghost of Broken Hill’ for a few reasons. The underground mine was an eerie experience. You travel deep into the Earth in a rickety old lift. In the tunnels the guide turns the lamp off and everyone is silent; here, you can imagine death. There is no sensory experience at all – pitch black and soundless. I love the rolling thunder and teasing laughs of the kookaburra contradicting these images in the video.

Jock was a fascinating character who lived under the ground in an old opal mine. He was full of sayings that sounded beautifully antiquated to my urban ears, and full of meaning. There are so few people left like him. He embodies an Australia that is nearly gone. This is the same the world over. As modern and post-modern culture subsumes the globe, and the language of technology increasingly informs our vernacular, the wisdom and witticisms of the past are becoming harder to hear. I wanted to capture some of this.

The only comment in this piece from Jock is: ‘I was a true shearer, I was drunk all the time and I was sick all the time.’ He gesticulates in the air, while his faded body hovers over a fast moving landscape, a metaphor for our rapidly changing world. He is like a ghost, disappearing into the land. The last of a kind. The spirit he embodies is the Ghost of Broken Hill.

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Hello and welcome to my blog. I am just starting out.

Come back soon and read my musical-landscape piece on Western New South Wales. A visual-audio representation is available in the youtube link below; I am creating the audio and a visual artist, Ben Mastwyk, is creating the visuals. Soon I will post an explanation of the piece.

Thank you

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